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NDP needs to show their own energy plan

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Editor: The opposition political party Leader, Mr. Arnhim Eustace, ought to put an alternative energy assistance agreement on the table, before his call for Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves to “unsign” the Petrocaribe oil agreement. The Petrocaribe agreement is an economic incentive by the oil rich Venezuelan Government to help its northern neighbours in the Caribbean cushion the explosive impact of spiraling world oil prices on their fragile economies. {{more}}

The Petrocaribe oil agreement’s “fundamental objective is to contribute to the energy security, the social and economic development and the integration of the countries of the Caribbean”. Economic objectives are measurable, quantifiable and specific. In 2003, Mr. Hugo Chavez, the elected President of Venezuela was overthrown in a coup d’etat, by “opposition forces”. Among the first Caribbean leaders to demand his release and return to office was the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. Is the Petrocaribe energy assistance a political thank you from President Chavez?

Mr. Eustace’s conclusion that the Petrocaribe agreement is a political smoke-screen and an Economic Fig Leaf used by Venezuela to subvert the abstract Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), is intellectually dishonest at best, and sheer foolishness at worst. Mr. Eustace should, instead, speculate about the political motives of the recent WTO ruling on the Banana issue, and its impact on the Vincentian people. Does Mr. Eustace’s misguided political attacks on Venezuela serve the foreign interest of the Vincentian People?

Incidentally, there is an article in the New York Times Newspaper, (After role is cut, State Dept. Official Quits) Saturday, July 30, 2005. “Rodger F. Noriega an outspoken critic of Cuba and Venezuela who has been Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America [Caribbean] affairs for the past two years announced his resignation. In early 2003, President Bush nominated Mr. Noriega to replace Otto J. Reich, a staunchly, anti-Communist, Cuban exile, whom the senate refused to confirm…. Mr. Noriega was equally anti-Cuba, and has been publicly critical of Hugo Chavez stewardship of Venezuela, particularly since Mr. Chavez begun forming a close relationship with Fidel Castro, Cuba’s President….Senior State Dept. officials have been upset by Mr. Noriega’s outspoken attacks on Mr. Chavez, even while others have been trying to reduce tensions between the United States, and Venezuela.”

Finally, Mr. Eustace should tone down his unwise political attacks on the elected Government of Venezuela. He should have apologized to the Vincentian people, for his attempt to assume the dual role of Regional Political Ventriloquist and Economic obstructionist.

Randy Aberdeen

Brooklyn, N.Y.

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