Antigua and Barbuda (Antigua Observer) – Calls by Prime Minister Gaston Browne for Caribbean leaders to seek help from Venezuela in a bid to combat rising fuel costs are receiving regional support.
Venezuela was once a major oil exporter to the Caribbean, particularly under the PetroCaribe energy initiative which saw refined fuel products shipped to Antigua and Barbuda among other countries.
But the programme nosedived in recent years amid a steep drop in Venezuela’s domestic production and refining, exacerbated by American sanctions.
As a result, Caribbean governments have resorted to sourcing most of their fuel from the open market, with soaring prices currently being felt by motorists at the gas pumps.
PM Browne recently said US sanctions against the South American country are negatively impacting the wider region.
And he added that he had no qualms about the consequences that may come from the US for those who deal with Venezuela.
Barbados’ ambassador to Caricom David Comissiong says the Caribbean Community has never recognised any embargo against Venezuela or Cuba – and the US has no any right to mandate member states do so.
Speaking on Wednesday’s Observer AM show, Comissiong was also adamant that regional leaders should not sit idly by and allow the US government to dictate what happens as it relates to bilateral agreements.