In light of the “economic challenges” face by Venezuela, the government of Dominica will soon sign a contract with that country to purchase 1,000 petrocasas which will be distributed throughout the island.
Speaking at the official signing ceremony for the building of houses for the relocation of the residents of Petite Savanne on Thursday, Housing Minister, Reginal Austrie, said the matter is based on principle since Venezuela is a true friend facing economic and social challenges.
“As we all know they are facing their own their own economic and social challenges, and as a true friend would do in spite of difficulty, they would look to see where they can assist you,” he stated.
He pointed out that the government of Venezuela has been very focused in assisting Dominica, especially after the passage of Tropical Storm Erika.
“The Venezuelan government has been very very focused in their assistance to Dominica not only on this occasion but in many other circumstances,” he said. “That is why the government, based on principle, has taken a decision, the government has taken a deliberate position to purchase 1,000 petrocasas from Venezuela for distribution across the country.”
Austrie noted that although the purchase is a “small token” by Venezuelan standards, it demonstrates government’s understanding and its attempt to assist in the reconstruction of the South American country’s economy.
“Venezuela doesn’t need our handouts, what Venezuela needs is to open up in terms of trade that they can earn the necessary foreign exchange and they can meet their requirements,” he stated.
He remarked that discussions on the matter are in the final stages and the contract will be signed soon.
“Very shortly we will be signing a contract with Venezuela for 1,000 petrocasas, slightly modified designs, from what they have given to us, to continue and compliment the housing revolution as started by this government maybe some ten years ago,” Austrie said.
Following the passage of the Erika is late August last year, Venezuela donated 300 petrocasas to Dominica.
Over the past three years, Venezuela has been on the throes of economic problems but it has now become a full-blown crisis.
Hit by a 10-year low in oil prices, the country is lacking in everything from bread, to flour, to toilet paper and other basic items. Looting has become common. The healthcare system is in a state of extreme turmoil with infants dying at an alarming rate. Essential drugs are hard to find and hospitals and doctors are reporting that they have no gloves, water or soap to perform basic procedures.