The rising energy prices has prompted Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne to call out the trade embargo of the United States to Venezuela, saying that the sanctions on Venezuela are also hurting other nations in the Caribbean region.
In a report by the Caribbean National Weekly, Browne said that “there is something fundamentally wrong with American policies to Cuba and Venezuela.”
“They are not only hurting Cuba and Venezuela, but they are also hurting others within the region,” he shared with the daily, adding that the U.S. cannot dictate the Caribbean nations on their trade policies.
In a bid to curb the rising price of oil, Browne then called on the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to talk to Caracas.
Browne believes that the PetroCaribe initiative that Venezuela had since 2005 could be vital for the region to survive the soaring prices of oil.
“If Venezuela sends us a shipment of petrol, we will take it because people are suffering. You can’t tell me that the United States can have a carve-out for countries in Europe that are not as vulnerable so Venezuela can send them products in order to wipe out debt, but here in the Caribbean people are suffering, we can’t buy products from Venezuela?” Browne said.
The PetroCaribe energy initiative allows Venezuela to supply crude oil to countries in the Caribbean region at a much cheaper price relative to the current world price of oil in the first 90 days. Countries may pay the remaining price rate for 25 years, with an interest rate of one percent every year. The cost may also be offset by trading of goods or services.
Last month, Washington has announced it was planning to loosen up the restrictions on Venezuela, a gesture “meant to encourage resumed negotiations between the US-backed opposition and the government of President Nicolás Maduro,” Caribbean National Weekly reported.
The Caribbean’s potential for renewable energy has been highlighted in a report by the Renewable Energy World.
“The Caribbean economy – except for Trinidad and Tobago – is almost entirely dependent on diesel fuel or natural gas,” wrote Martin Vogt, managing director at MPC Renewable Energies, adding that “solar energy holds, perhaps, the most promise as a future power source” in the region.
Early this year, the CARICOM has unveiled a 400-Kw Solar Power Plant at its headquarters.
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