St Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr the Honourable Timothy Harris arrived in Montego Bay, Jamaica last night to a warm welcome and a guard of honour. Jamaica plays host to the tenth Summit of Petrocaribe which takes place on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th of September.
The Caribbean is using the event to celebrate the region’s UNITY through energy as well as the Bolivarian legacy
Launched in 2005, the PetroCaribe Agreement allows its member countries — currently totaling 19, including Venezuela — to purchase oil from Venezuela under preferential terms. Member countries need only pay 60 percent of the cost of oil up-front, and the remaining 40 percent can be paid over a period of 25 years at an interest rate of a mere 1 percent.
Additionally, PetroCaribe has also established the ALBA Caribe Fund, which finances development projects in member states and thus far a total of US$106 million has been disbursed to fund 69 social welfare projects. An agreement was signed last month August with St. Kitts and Nevis for the installation of solar panels in public schools, also housing and habitat programs.
Just yesterday Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris, along with representatives of the St Kitts-Nevis Development Bank, PDVSA St. Kitts and the Government of Venezuela, signed documents to officially signal the beginning of the Fresh Start Programme. The Prime Minister intimated then that through the said programme locals can start businesses.
He said “This particular arrangement called the Fresh Start Project, is intended to provide a fresh start to young and not so young entrepreneurs who are finding it difficult to access financing from the commercial financial enterprises”.
Accompanying Prime Minister Harris is Minister with responsibility for Energy the Hon. Ian “Patches” Liburd, who has been instrumental in ensuring the implementation the election campaign promises of Team Unity. These include the Sugar Restoration Fund and the Fresh Start Programme.
Minister Liburd said “the Petrocaribe Agreement and the ALBA Caribe Fund arrangements are not just about trading in oil as they facilitate the cultural, social and economic development of St Kitts and Nevis “.
The 19 member countries in the region that make up PetroCaribe are all expected to attend the Summit.