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Maduro pledges PetroCaribe backing for housing project

Published:Wednesday | November 4, 2015 | 11:00 AM

Venezuelan President Nicol·s Maduro on Monday pledged more resources for the eastern Caribbean under the PetroCaribe programme during a one-day visit to nearby St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Maduro said he was seeking a regional hub that would serve as the centre for construction of 50 homes financed by a Venezuelan programme that provides fuel

at generous financial terms

to Caribbean and Central American countries.

Maduro said the pilot project could serve as a model for future investments in St Vincent. He did not say how much construction of the homes would cost or provide any other details as he praised the programme.

"There should be no doubt in our minds that PetroCaribe today is the backbone of the energy, social and economic development of our region," said Maduro, whose country is struggling with a tanking economy and has the world's highest inflation.

Maduro announced during his visit that Venezuela would provide 7,500 laptops for the island's government, adding that the two nations would seek to improve trade relations.

Venezuela previously built a $32-million fuel storage and distribution plant in St Vincent under PetroCaribe as part of a joint venture between the two nations. The facility nearly tripled St Vincent's fuel storage when it was commissioned earlier this year.

Maduro said he also plans to launch an initiative that aims to foster trade between Venezuela and the eastern Caribbean to facilitate customs, transportation and operations for PetroCaribe projects.

Maduro recently visited Antigua, Suriname, St Lucia and Grenada to talk about economic and social-development initiatives.