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Groundwork laid for initial PetroCaribe shipment to St Lucia
Published on April 16, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

Venezuelan petroleum officials meet with local stakeholders and government of Saint Lucia representatives

By Vina Frederick

CASTRIES, St Lucia (GIS) -- Officials representing Petroleum of Venezuela (PDVSA) have provided positive feedback on a recent visit to Saint Lucia, in preparation for the initial stages of shipping fuel under the island’s PetroCaribe agreement.

The main objective of the trip was to gather information on the logistics and commercial aspects of the agreement for the initial fuel shipment.

Saint Lucia’s ambassador to PetroCaribe and ALBA, Hippolyte Eustace Vitalis, said since the initial agreement Saint Lucia and Venezuela have been laying the groundwork for the fuel initiative.

"They are here so that they can get more information and assist in establishing the entity that will be responsible for the operating aspect, so that upon their return they can prepare a roadmap for the initial stages of the pumping of the fuel," said the ambassador.

The experts met with local commercial stakeholders, as well as government officials, describing the meetings as “productive and fruitful”.

“We met with people from LUCELEC, finance people, the Bureau of Standards and we talked about technical aspects that are needed in order to accomplish contracts, and administrative steps to initiate the product supply," said PDV Caribe sales and marketing manager, Daniel Comoretto.

Additionally, the officials met with Buckeye, formerly Hess Oil, and indicated their discourse with the operators of the storage facility was positive.

Comoretto added that under the initial PetroCaribe agreement between Saint Lucia and Venezuela, the island will receive supplies of diesel and gasoline.

In response to public concerns about the agreement, Vitalis said Saint Lucians and especially petroleum dealers can rest easy.

“The intention is not to take 100 percent of the market. That is very important because a lot of the discussions that have gone around gives the impression that the government intends to establish private or government fuel stations," said Vitalis. "That is not the intention. The intention is to work with the present players."

Discussions have been held with SOL and, according to the ambassador, the feedback was very encouraging given the company's experience in neighbouring islands.

The initial agreement will result in Saint Lucia receiving 1000 barrels of diesel and 500 barrels of gasoline per day. Vitalis said in the future the government will look to expand the range of products under the agreement.

"It is of great necessity for us as a government to try to see how we can ease off that pressure on the general public as it relates to the LPG supply. The petroleum dealers have always indicated that they will be very happy to work with the government on that initiative, as you are aware the government is subsidizing the purchase of LPG to the general public,” Vitalis said.

The ambassador affirmed that the intention is for PDVSA to occupy only a small segment of the local market. Additionally, there are significant benefits the country can accrue from this initiative through the establishment of the fund that existing and new private businesses can utilize to generate economic activity at much lower interest rates.

Government will also be able to use part of the fund to finance social projects within the island’s communities.

Vitalis indicated that Saint Lucia’s delay in signing on to the agreement, afforded them an opportunity to learn from the experiences of other signatories and adjust the country’s participation for greater national benefit.
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Peter Binose:

Saint Lucia folks will end up sorry when they find out that the PetroCaribe is used to create debt between Caribbean countries and Venezuela via ALBA.

In Saint Vincent we were lied to about the PetroCaribe deal. We were told that the diesel, petrol and cooking gas would be cheaper. That is totally untrue and a lie perpetrated on the citizenship to fool them into thinking of ALBA as a mentor.

There are world prices for crude oil, prices are set by OPEC, Venezuela is a leading member of OPEC and would not be seen as selling below the OPEC fixed prices.

With regards to cooking gas, its not as refined as we are used to, often with a dirty burn and slightly yellow flame, and indication of dangerous fumes being generated. The price starts off much cheaper and is then eases up to be only a dollar or two less than that of our traditional suppliers.

PetroCaribe allows the members to buy fuel at current market prices, paying only 60% and using the 40% for projects within the members country.

What it in fact means is that the vehicle owner pay 100% of the fuel cost at the pump, which is inflated by import duty, taxes and VAT. So the government is collecting the fuel cost, profit and taxes, then paying PetroCaribe in 20 years time when the interest at about 4% will more than double the amount to be repaid. The 40% has become a loan, it's repaid later from taxes which means that the vehicle owner is paying twice for his fuel, once at the pump and once through his taxes. Of course it is not just vehicle owners that are paying back the debt it is every living citizen.

It would not matter if the 40% loan was used to create wealth through industry and projects that create profit and capital. But its not because the terms are that the loan is used for social projects, projects with no financial return.

With our current bunch of scientific socialists, or more commonly know as communist inclined leaders. They love the deal, it means they can spend like crazy on silly projects and our children, grand children, and even great grandchildren will be lumbered with paying the debt. It also means that we become more and more entwined with the ALBA Marxist system and become mere puppets for Cuba and Venezuela.

My advice to Lucians is to reject your leaderships race to ensnare you all in the PetroCaribe lie. To ask your PM to stop taking advice from PM Gonsalves, and distance yourselves from the ALBA trap. You have already been lied to over the Russian UN vote affair, now you are being lied to over this matter which will effect your country for many years to come.

Peter Binose, self appointed keeper of the bugle, and blowing hard.


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