Prime Minister Dean Barrow is currently in Venezuela where leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean will be meeting in a one-day summit on the Petrocaribe Initiative which takes place on Tuesday. The PM has not in recent years been to a Petrocaribe Summit, but as you know, the Petrocaribe funds, twenty million dollars, were used to capitalize the National Bank of Belize so Belize has a big interest in the initiative because government only has to pay upfront fifty percent for fuel imports from Venezuela. The balance is had on credit at concessionary terms. Since the death of President Hugo Chavez and Caracas’ economic woes, there has been speculation that the initiative is becoming unsustainable and that interest rates are going up. While that has been ruled out by the PM, leaders are expected to sign on to what is called an eco-ALBA which proposes the creation of an economic zone among participating countries. Also in Caracas for the summit are: Ecuador’s Rafael Correa; Bolivia’s Evo Morales; Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega; Dominican Republic’s Danilo Medina; Surinam’s Dési Bouterse, and Haití, Michel Martelly. Other Caribbean leaders are also expected to attend. Before travelling to Caracas, PM Barrow attended a SICA meeting in Panama. He will also be taking personal leave between the eighteen and twenty-second of December.

Channel 5