[Trinidad Express] – In the build-up to a summit between Prime Minister Keith Rowley and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, three government ministers and at least two senior public officials left yesterday for meetings in Caracas.
Trinidad and Tobago Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses, Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, Community Development Minister Nyan Gadsby Dolly, Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Frances Seignoret and Foreign Affairs’ legal director Gerald Thomas arrived in Caracas, Venezuela’s official information agency AVN confirmed.
Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister for Latin America and the Caribbean Alexánder Yánez received the delegation at Simon Bolivar International Airport on the outskirts of Caracas. After a brief reception at the airport’s VIP lounge, Salón Montesacro, the T&T delegation—there to discuss a range of topics, from cross-border gas fields to bartering arrangements—was taken to Caracas for what was described as a “packed agenda”.
It was not confirmed that the ministers will meet Maduro, but a meeting is likely as a similar delegation from Venezuela was received by Rowley last month.
The delegation will attend the inaugural meeting of the high-level committee for Venezuela-Trinidad and Tobago bilateral relations, agreed upon during the tenure of former foreign affairs minister Winston Dookeran, after Maduro visited then Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar twice during her term in office.
Following her visit to Port of Spain last month (her second in 2015), Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodriguez told Venezuelan state television that Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago were reviewing agreements for signature “possibly soon”.
Rodriguez, Venezuela’s Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino and Venezuela’s Finance Minister Rodolfo Marco Torres flew to Port of Spain to meet new PM Rowley on September 22.
A meeting between Rowley and Maduro is being planned, Rodriguez had said in September.
Also in late September, Del Pino had said in a statement that Venezuela is considering sending, not only gas from the Loran Manatee cross-border field to Point Fortin-based Atlantic, but also some of its own gas from its Cardón IV field in Western Venezuela.
Del Pino had said Cardón IV had increased its capacity to produce as much as one billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas per day and that “about 20 per cent” of that could be sent to Atlantic for “liquification to broaden the international market”.