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Trinidad aligns with USA over Petrocaribe
Posted: Friday, January 13, 2006

Trinidad aligns with USA threatening Caricom counties in Petrocaribe scheme

by Patrick J. O'Donoghue,

The Trinidad & Tobago government is baring its teeth to Venezuela, warning English-speaking Caribbean Economic Community (Caricom) partners that they won't get oil, if they continue to do business with Petrocaribe.

T&T President Patrick Manning issued the threat during a visit to Caricom HQ in Georgetown (Guyana).

Manning has opposed the Venezuelan cheap oil plan from the beginning and the establishment of Petrocaribe in the Caribbean Basin. Manning, it would appear, is firmly with the USA and major oil companies, fearing that Venezuela is using oil as a political tool.

T&T has set up a parallel trade deal called the Caricom Petroleum Compensation Fund but it now seems that Caribbean countries want to avail of both offers.

If neighboring countries continue to benefit from the Petrocaribe deal, then T&T, Manning warns, could stop supplies and seek alternative markets.

The threat is not only directed towards Venezuela but also towards T&T's major Caribbean rival, Jamaica, which has endorsed the Petrocaribe scheme and entered into closer relations with Venezuela.

Some Caribbean countries balk at T&T's deal because it means importing goods from T&T as part of the Caricom Petroleum Compensation Fund agreement.

The following courtries have signed the agreement to join Petrocaribe: Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, San Cristobal & Nevis, San Vicente & Grenadines and Surinam.

Manning suggests that the Petrocaribe agreement will force transnationals to flee the Caribbean area and perhaps T&T will not be able to supply oil, if the Petrocaribe plan falls through. Member countries, Manning says, should have thought the plan through before deciding to agree.

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