News Five understands that the persistent issue of correspondent banking was also a factor in government’s decision to source fuel from the U.S. Gulf Coast. Admittedly, G.O.B. has also been facing problems with servicing its debt to Venezuela.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“That no doubt was part of our decision not to place anymore orders with PDVSA. Nobody, no bank will handle any financial transaction that sees us attempting to send money to Venezuela to pay for fuel supplies. So that was a key factor in the decision to source the fuel from the U.S. Gulf Coast or such other place as PUMA might in fact suggest. They are the ones that now will do the sourcing. When the Petrocaribe arrangements were still in place, remember we had APBEL which is the joint venture company between Belize and Venezuela that in fact placed the order or placed the PUMA orders with PDVSA or PDV Caribe. So let me just repeat that indeed there were correspondent banking issues and those issues contributed in great measure to the decision not to any longer source fuel from Venezuela. I would go further and tell you that we’re having difficulty servicing our debt with Venezuela because again, no bank will give us the, no bank will remit payments to Venezuela and they don’t care that it has nothing to do, in the case of debt servicing, with paying for any supplies of anything. It is simply trying to honorably deal with an obligation that is already accrued, but that’s the extent of the correspondent banking issue effect on this whole equation.”