Social and Humanitarian component of PetroCaribe agreement set to bring benefits to elderly and the needy
Roseau, Dominica – December 11, 2009 ……..The decision of Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit to sign on to the PetroCaribe agreement in 2005 is continuing to bring benefits to the Dominican people.
In partnership with PDV Caribe Dominica Limited, the Government of Dominica on Tuesday launched a programme to provide liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to the elderly and the needy in Dominica free of cost.
According to Minister for Community Development, Culture, Gender Affairs and Information, Hon. Loreen Bannis-Roberts, under the programme, seventeen (17) centenarians will receive cooking gas free of cost. Four (4) centenarians will each receive a stove, again free of charge. Sixty-three (63) persons under the ‘Yes We Care Programme’ will also receive cooking gas free of cost. Forty-seven (47) persons under the Yes We Care programme will each receive a free stove and cookware.
In his remarks at the ceremony, Minister with responsibility for PetroCaribe, Hon. Reginald Austrie stated that a social and humanitarian component is enshrined in the philosophy of the PetroCaribe agreement.
Minister Austrie listed a number of projects that have been financed under the PetroCaribe arrangement that are outside the field of energy. These include an amount of EC$4.2 million that was used to clear over 20,000 tonnes of white goods and old tyres and vehicles at Jimmit. PDV Caribe Dominica Limited has also financed infrastructural works and beautification in the Mahaut constituency.
In his address, Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit recalled the barrage of criticism which followed his decision to sign on to PetroCaribe and later ALBA.
“When I signed the PetroCaribe agreement along with other Heads of Government of CARICOM, we came under tremendous criticism by some but today there are several countries in CARICOM who are using PetroCaribe as the lifeblood of their own economic and social survival.”
The Prime Minister also expressed his gratitude to the President of Venezuela, His Excellency, Hugo Chavez Frias, who conceptualised PetroCaribe.
“I want to on this occasion, at this juncture, extend profound gratitude to my friend, President Hugo Chavez of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. He is somebody who is genuinely concerned about the welfare of the poor and the downtrodden and the less fortunate. And who has placed the resources of his country given by the good lord at the disposal of several millions of people across the length and breadth of the world, including Great Britain and the United States.”
Remarks at the launching ceremony were also delivered by Dominica’s Ambassador to Venezuela, His Excellency, Dr. Philsbert Aaron, Venezuela’s Ambassador to Dominica, H.E Carmen Martinez de Grijalva and President of the Dominica Council on Aging, Mr. Evander Joseph.
A Supervisor of the Yes We Care Programme, Ms. Melinda Paul also delivered a moving testimony of the very challenging living conditions that some of the country’s elderly have to live under.
PetroCaribe is an initiative aimed at the integration of Caribbean peoples through energy cooperation based on a favourable, equitable and fair exchange scheme among Central American and Caribbean countries.
Members of PetroCaribe are: Venezuela, Commonwealth of Dominica, Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Haiti, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala.