The heads of government of Caribbean countries on Friday condemned US economic sanctions on Venezuela, which they say have forced them to buy more expensive oil elsewhere.
Members of Caribbean trade group CARICOM have called for the lifting of sanctions, which prevent them from buying oil at low prices, as part of a deal with Venezuela called Petrocaribe.
Dominica’s prime minister, Roosevelt Skerritt, said after the three-day meeting, “We suffered heavy losses in the Caribbean.” “People should be allowed to live, especially in these difficult times.”
Skerritt and Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley said the matter had been raised with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who attended the summit in Trinidad.
The PetroCarib Agreement, started in 2015 and recently revived, allows Caribbean countries to pay 60% of their oil purchases in three months and defer payments over 25 years with 1% interest.
Countries such as Guyana have been allowed to make some payments with rice and raw materials.
Earlier this year, the US think tank Atlantic Council warned that the Caribbean was in an energy crisis and that its reliance on heavy fuel oil has led to high electricity tariffs.
He said President Joe Biden’s government in January granted Trinidad and Tobago a license to access Venezuelan gas to produce liquefied natural gas and the clean fuel.
According to the council, “the sector now needs a more secure supply of products.”