Since the program was restarted in 2012, some $190 million in sold petroleum at concessionary terms has been loaned to Belize, of which about 40% is paid back upfront.
The remainder is treated as a long-term loan payable at 1% interest over 25 years, and must be used for projects that target poverty alleviation and human and social development.
The office of Alba Petrocaribe Energy Belize Limited, which is overseeing the working relations of the agreement, was opened in Belize City today, and executive of PDV Caribe, one of the partners in the agreeemnt, Ricardo Garcia, spoke of how far the program has come.
“Today, I am very proud and happy to see how Alba PetroCaribe Belize has grown. I still remember that years ago, we started negotiations with PDVFA in Venezuela and you are a local customer in doing business in Belize.What we are doing today shows us that PetroCaribe not only is stronger than ever, but that we will keep and we will continue the agreement in order to benefit the people from Central America and the Caribbean”.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington spoke of how more can be done to strengthen relations between Belize, Venezuela, and other Central American and Caribbean states.
“We have looked closely at our region. What certainly we, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs saw was a profound revolution taking place in South America. So, where the governments of the south collectively seem to transform the reality of their people, they realize that the south has tremendous wealth, both in terms f natural resources as well as in terms of human resources.
So, they are saying that it is now time to take this wealth, and put it to the use of our people. Venezuela has been at the forefront of that effort, using its resources to facilitate the process. (whatever you need to do, you need to get resources)
The intention is to make sure that we have democracy in the region; top make sure that we have peace and solidarity in the region; to make sure that we integrate in the region because that is the only way we are going to be strong”.
The initiative will continue for the foreseeable future and the Prime Minister said that Belize’s overall debt profile is not greatly affected. He added that he sees the funds also being used as paying back compensation for BTL and BEL or even to buy back Superbond debt as necessary.