“The future of PetroCaribe is bright, PetroCaribe is not going anywhere.”
This is according to Reginald Austrie, Minister Responsible for PetroCaribe, at a closing ceremony to mark the 10th Anniversary celebration of PetroCaribe accord.
On June 29, 2004 Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and late President Hugo Chavez signed an agreement which provides Dominica with liquid petroleum gas, gasoline and diesel at a discounted rate.
“A lot of people thought that once President Chavez had departed, PetroCaribe would have departed with him,” Austrie stated. “We have proven that to be wrong because President (Nicholas) Maduro has made the same commitment and continuing in the same legacy that President Hugo Chavez wanted us to. But I can say to you here and out there that PetroCaribe ain’t going nowhere, we are here to stay.”
Austrie pointed out that since PetroCaribe was launched it has grown from strength to strength and has “hold its own at every twist and turn in the economic fortunes or misfortunes of the world.”
He said through the vision of its founders, PetroCaribe has transformed itself into a very important international institution.
“PetroCaribe can be compared with any other global institution that exists and that serve us in this part of the world,” Austrie said. “Prime Minister (Skerrit) has introduced a number of CARICOM leaders to PetroCaribe and now they too are enjoying the benefits that Dominica is in fact enjoying.”
He stated that ten years ago, before PetroCaribe, the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean was like a dream but this has changed.
“Today the evidence is clear that we have created a bond and a relationship that is very visible throughout Dominica, when you look at our Venezuelan counterparts and numerous visits that they make between Dominica and Venezuela,” Austrie noted.
He revealed that the country has made great strides and tremendous benefits have been derived from the PetroCaribe relationship.
“We can begin by looking at the Jimmit Storage Facility. Ten years ago that was like a forest, today we have a modern oil facility, in spite of the fact that we do not have oil and we do not trade oil, but more importantly we were able to create permanent employment for over 30 of our citizens, and the fact that we would be dominated by the Venezuelans… it’s not correct,” he noted. “We only have one Venezuelan permanently employed at PetroCaribe and that is the general manager Mr. Blanco.”
As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations a series of programs were organized seeking to enlighten and to heighten the awareness of what PetroCaribe is all about.
Austrie said as minister responsible for PetroCaribe he is satisfied the program of activities was well executed.
However, he said the renaming of the storage facility in Jimmit from the Waitukubuli Storage Facility to the Hugo Chavez Storage Facility did not take place and this can be done when Maduro visits Dominica.