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Venezuela fuels VINLEC under PetroCaribe deal

Venezuela fuels VINLEC under PetroCaribe deal

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Venezuela came bearing two gifts this week for St Vincent and the Grenadines.

One was the delivery of the first shipment of diesel for VINLEC under the Petrocaribe deal and the second was just about EC$5 million in cash.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, in receiving the PetroCaribe fuel took the opportunity to announce that just under EC$5 million had been provided by the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) Caribe initiative and the money should now be in the local coffers.

At the brief ceremony held at the Lowmans Bay, site of the new diesel power plant, he said the ALBA Caribe, which is geared towards assisting in poverty reduction, was “a tremendous act of generosity”.

The Prime Minister said that during the tough period of 2002-2003, when the Venezuelan Government was going through its own internal political difficulties, including an attempted coup against President Hugo Chavez, and the process of the energy agreement between the two nations was slowed down, those persons in St Vincent and the Grenadines that were opposed to the close relationship that existed between the two countries had “a veritable field day”.

Those days have passed and today the Petro Caribe is delivering oil at market value, just like any other vendor, but St Vincent only had to pay 60 per cent up front and the remainding 40 per cent is amortized over 25 years at one per cent interest.

“The truth is if you get credit of forty percent over twenty five years at one percent, that portion is fundamentally a gift,” stated Prime Minister Gonsalves.

Commenting on the construction of the new diesel plant, Prime Minister Gonsalves said that the Venezuelan engineers and the Vincentian counterparts will be ensuring that all the environmental care is given, addressing the environmental concerns expressed in some quarters.

Chief Executive Officer of VINLEC, Thornley Mayers, said that when the Diesel Storage Plant is completed it will carry the capacity of St Vincent and the Grenadines from the present 20,000 gallons to 440,000 gallons.

Prime Minister Gonsalves said that he was shocked to realize when he first became Prime Minister that there was storage for only twelve or thirteen days, a situation that still exists.

He stated to an audience that included the Venezuelan Ambassador to St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tibisay Urdenata, that when the new facility is completed that will be upgraded to sixty or so days, which he deemed to be crucial in light of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ predisposal to hurricanes and other similar hazards.

“Let us assume that we are low on fuel and a hurricane hit and we have high seas and have a problem for four or five days. We need more storage for our own security,” he said.

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