Gov’t seeks possible extension of PetroCaribe deal

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Minister of State, Joseph Harmon
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Cabinet has mandated that efforts be undertaken to engage neighbouring Venezuela on the terms of the PetroCaribe agreement, and its extension, according to Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.

He told a post cabinet media briefing on Wednesday, June 17 that the move comes at a time when other competing South American nations are eyeing the Venezuelan rice market, when the industry is not at its best with longstanding stakeholders.

“We have been advised that there are other countries in the South American continent that are pushing to take over that rice market in Venezuela.”

He expressed government’s optimism however, that due to the length of time that the two countries have been engaged in this trade, Guyana should have an advantage in maintaining its market share.

“We believe that because of the length of time that we have been shipping rice to the Venezuela market, they might have become accustomed to Guyana’s rice and we stand a better chance of being able to negotiate a longer term arrangement.”

With Guyana aiming to sell more than 200,000 tonnes of rice and paddy to Venezuela, for this year, Minister Harmon reiterated that the PetroCaribe Fund, set up to hold the proceeds from the oil-for-rice arrangement was ” still bare” and debtors were demanding outstanding payments.

“What we are getting so far are bills”. He added this was a result of, “years of mismanagement by the former Administration when they were in government.”

The minister reminded that the shipments of rice to Venezuela under this arrangement come to an end this year.

“We are engaging Venezuela on a bilateral basis to see whether it is possible to extend that facility for Venezuela to continue buying rice from Guyana.”

Harmon said that the Foreign Affairs Minister has been assigned to assist with this matter, while, “other ministers will be engaged in this type of shuttle diplomacy to ensure that we get the best out of this situation.”

Government is currently seeking to source some US$15 million to cover outstanding amounts owed to rice producers and other stakeholders in the sector.

4 COMMENTS

  1. It would be interesting to see if Venezuela would continue purchasing Guyana’s rice under the Petro Caribe arrangement after Greenidge’s statements in response to the Maduro decree. Greenidge is certainly not the right person to ”assist with this matter” as his statements were certainly not very diplomatic to say the least.

  2. THIS GOVT. PROMISED AND IS EXPECTED TO DO BETTER THAN THE PREVIOUS GOVT. EVEN IF YOU LOSE THE VENEZUELA MARKET , YOU SHOULD FIND [A ]BETTER MARKET[S]. THE LOT OF FARMERS SHOULD IMPROVE SIGNIFICANTLY UNDER THIS GOVT.FOR THAT IS WHAT YOU PROMISED.

  3. MR. HARMON HAS IT ALL WRONG .RICE IS RICE. VENEZUELA WON’T CONTINUE TO BUY GUYANA RICE BECAUSE THEY ARE ACCUSTOMED TO BUYING GUYANA RICE . THEY WILL LOOK AT PRICE, QUALITY ETC. THE GOVT. BETTER GO AND NEGOTIATE AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE AND SIGN A DEAL BEFORE OTHER SOUTH AMERICAN COUNTRIES GET INTO THE MARKET. THE TIME THE COALITION GOVT. SPENT FIRING PEOPLE LEFT ,RIGHT AND CENTRE COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER SPENT AGGRESSIVELY PURSUING MARKETS FOR OUR RICE.

  4. I don’t think that relying more financially and economically on a country that is making moves to have a future border dispute with you is wise policy. Learn from other countries that made that mistake with certain world powers only to have the contract used as a stick to keep them in line. Guyand should explore more options to export it’s rice

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