Trinidad and Venezuela discuss energy project

Jul 15, 2004 02:00 AM

Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela are seeking to complete an arrangement that would lead to significant reductions in energy costs across the region, Prime Minister Patrick Manning has said.
"Essentially we are heading in a direction of a financial arrangement other than a reduction in the petroleum product price and in that regard we have spoken already to the President of the Caribbean Development Bank. Trinidad and Tobago now sees that as the preferred option, in that regard we are likely to consolidate all the funding arrangements that we have in relation to Caricom countries," Manning told at the just concluded Caribbean Community (Caricom) summit in Grenada.

World oil prices, which have been climbing steadily for more than a month, now have forced the majority of Caribbean government to increase the cost of fuel at the pumps. Manning said that talks were ongoing with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to harmonize facilities in the two countries in a bid to provide a better deal for the region.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Energy in Trinidad and Tobago said that Caricom states, Cuba and Venezuela have moved closer towards the creation of a regional energy policy. It said a technical commission has been mandated to examine the feasibility of the regional energy policy.

The statement said that a Caricom-Cuba ministerial team held discussions with Venezuela's Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez to discuss energy integration within the framework of a resolution adopted at the Latin American Energy Organization (Olade) and the meeting of Energy Ministers of the Western hemisphere held there in May. The Caricom-Cuba delegation included Trinidad and Tobago's Energy Minister Eric Williams, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds of Guyana and Cuba's first Vice-Minister of Basic Industries Tomas Benitez.
The statement said that the parties acknowledged that "notwithstanding the advances achieved towards energy integration in the hemisphere, the Caribbean region still faces serious challenges in obtaining continuous energy supplies" and there is need for the process of energy integration to "emphasize the economic and social development of their peoples rather than be governed solely by market imperatives and financial gain".

Source: BBC Monitoring
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