St. Lucia is the latest Caribbean country to join the Venezuelan oil initiative, PetroCaribe.
A statement from the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Energy said the St. Lucian government expects to accrue major benefits for the island following a decision to join PetroCaribe.
“This will make it possible for the country to receive a regular supply of petroleum products from Venezuela under the PetroCaribe arrangements that are currently being utilized by several other Caribbean nations,” according to the statement.
It said the decision to join PetroCaribe had been taken against a background of ever-escalating fuel costs and the adverse impact this was having on the economy, which is totally dependent on imported products.
“While the government is committed to making the transition to renewable sources of energy, St. Lucia will continue to rely on imported petroleum as its main source of energy for the foreseeable future. PetroCaribe gives government greater flexibility to manage and stabilize the prices of petroleum products on the local market,” the statement said.
The statement went on to say that equally important is that the revenue derived from the PetroCaribe arrangements will be used to invest in social development programs and social infrastructure in St. Lucia, as has been done successfully in neighboring Caribbean countries.
“Government believes there is tremendous benefit in St. Lucia entering these arrangements at this time, as it allows us to learn from the mistakes and challenges that had been encountered by our sister islands and put measures in place to ensure that these problems do not feature in St. Lucia’s context,” it added.
PetroCaribe provides for several Caribbean countries to purchase oil from Venezuela on conditions of preferential payment. The alliance was launched in 2005 and was aimed at strengthening the countries that are members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of America (ALBA).