Trinidad party leader thinks Venezuela gas deal has fallen through

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (left) shakes hands with President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro before the signing ceremony for the Dragon gas field deal at Presidential Palace, Miraflores Caracas, in August 2018.

(Trinidad Express) Congress of the People (COP) leader Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan says she thinks the Dragon Gas deal between Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela has fallen through because of the political crisis in Venezuela.

“That pipeline has fallen through because I don’t think it is politically astute at this point in time to even continue with that project, given what is happening in Venezuela, because of the geo-political risk. And until that country returns to some form of political stability, we don’t want to attract that risk to ourselves,” she told the Express, following a Methanol Fuel forum at the Hyatt Regency on Thursday.

But on TV6’s morning edition programme on Thursday, Energy Minister Franklin Khan said it was very unlikely that the crisis in Venezuela would negatively impact the Dragon Gas deal.

“The deal is a commercial deal. We have international players. We have Shell, we have PDVSA, we have the NGC and I’m quite confident of how robust the deal is and it will continue, irrespective of what is happening in Venezuela,” he stated.

“Particular in the energy sector, Trinidad and Tobago’s claim to fame is we honour the sanctity of the contract. And it has occurred in most instances where successive administrations do not breach the contractual arrangement that has been made by the previous administration,” Khan stated.

Seepersad-Bachan said from the time Government started talking about the Dragon deal, the COP warned about the geo-political risks involved.

 “I have a real concern as to what is happening here in terms of Trinidad and Tobago being very close to Venezuela. We also have to be very mindful that we will have to take steps as well in terms of the region as well,” she stated.

He further emphasized:

“Trinidad and Tobago has found itself, in my humble view, in a very, very ticklish position in that we have supported the existing Government. We have openly shown that support. And the announcement of this major project will be brought to the attention to those who are opposed to Maduro’s style of governance and his anti-democratic behaviours.”

“It is important for us now to take the necessary action in order for us to regain our position in the Caribbean and to offer that form of leadership that is required. We must at all times advocate always for the democratic rights to prevail and for there to be that free and fair elections in the election of any Government.”

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