Gov’t says Petro Caribe Board denies pulling back on region

A story that originated from the online news agency Platts, and which is now circulating on other regional news sites, is being described as false.

The story claimed Venezuela is no longer able to deliver petroleum products under the Petro Caribe programme to eight Caribbean nations it serves, including Antigua and Barbuda.

Last night, the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda released the following statement, “The Board of Petro Caribe was also invited to Cabinet. First, it dispelled and debunked the fake news which appeared on social media and was reported in Wednesday’s June 13, 2018, print newspaper. PDVSA is not ending and will not discontinue its special sale of petroleum products to the eight countries that support Venezuela at the OAS.”

The Cabinet said that the Board confirmed that it will issue an independent statement regarding the false information.

Petrocaribe is an oil alliance of 17 Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment. The alliance was launched on June 29, 2005 in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela.

The government’s Chief of Staff, Lionel “Max” Hurst also said that in Antigua and Barbuda, the subsidy for electricity by the Petro Caribe agreement costs $618,000 each month; the social programs cost $460,000 each month on average. There are five categories of people who qualify for the subsidies, and the rule does not allow two people in any one household to benefit from the subsidies.

Hurst, who prepares the notes of Cabinet, wrote, “There will be no wholesale removal of beneficiaries from the Petro Caribe programs, the Cabinet advised; each current recipient will be judged on the basis of his/her eligibility. The Petro Caribe program continues.”

Meanwhile, earlier this week, the Antigua based West Indies Oil Company said it had no knowledge of the reported development.

WIOC issued a statement saying, “It has been drawn to the attention of the West Indies Oil Company (WIOC) that a notice purporting to come from PDVSA has been circulating on social media, stating that PDVSA has suspended oil shipments to eight countries in the Petrocaribe arrangement, including Antigua and Barbuda. WIOC advises that the Company has received no such notification from PDVSA.”

WIOC further stated that even if it were the case that PDVSA had suspended shipments, WIOC is not reliant on fuel supplies from PDVSA for the petroleum requirements of Antigua and Barbuda.

It said therefore the public should not expect any disruption in services.

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