(Barbados Nation) THE PETROCARIBE oil agreement isn’t cutting it.
That’s according to former Cabinet Minister Clyde Griffith and University lecturer Kai-Ann Skeete.
Speaking on the topic The Impact Of PetroCaribe On Caribbean Development before a standing room only audience at the Walcott Warner Theatre of the Errol Barrow Centre For Creative Imagination at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, both took issue with the Venezuelan agreement on energy cooperation, with Griffith going as far as stating that Barbados should not sign on to the deal where a country can pay as much as 70 per cent of its petroleum bill by bartering goods and services to Venezuela.
Skeete, a lecturer in the Master of Science Integration Studies Department of Government Sociology & Social Work, said signing out for Barbados could have a negative impact on the local private sector but she did not elaborate.
She felt that the regional private sector had a vital role to play in the development of the region and, more so, the CARICOM Single Market & Economy (CSME).
Skeete said that PetroCaribe’s oil is neither cheaper nor offered at discounted prices “rather it has been made easier to be bought”.
In a highly charged panel discussion, their views contrasted with those of attorney at law David Comissiong and political analyst Peter Wickham.
A passionate Comissiong hailed the agreement as a forward-looking programme and a major hemisphere-wide integration initiative that Barbados was missing out on, while Wickham took a more centrist stance but was of the view that the PetroCaribe agreement was nothing to be feared.