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Portia hails PetroCaribe facility

Published:Friday | September 4, 2015 | 11:18 AM
Portia Simpson Miller

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has hailed the PetroCaribe facility, calling it a critical pillar in the country's social and economic life over the past 10 years.

"The investment of savings from the facility by the PetroCaribe Development Fund (PDF) has positively impacted the Jamaican economy, including expansion of Jamaica's road

network; improvement in mining infrastructure; financing for small and micro enterprises; modernisation of the Norman Manley International Airport; upgrading of port infrastructure; and the provision of working capital to some public-sector entities," Simpson Miller said.

The prime minister will co-chair the 10th Anniversary Commemorative Summit of the PetroCaribe Agreement with president of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro today at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

Sustainable development

"It is a great honour for Jamaica to host the PetroCaribe 10th anniversary summit to commemorate this significant cooperation agreement, review its operation, and consider its future. The PetroCaribe facility has made a tremendous contribution to advancing the sustainable development of Jamaica, the Caribbean, and the Latin American region. I thank the people and government of Venezuela for their proven commitment to the economic stability and prosperity of the region and for their selfless solidarity with their brothers and sisters in our oil-import dependent countries," the prime minister said in an e-mailed response to The Gleaner.

PetroCaribe facilitates the sourcing of oil from Venezuela by Jamaica and some 17 other countries within the Caribbean and Latin America with deferred payment and concessionary interest rates.

"The funds have also been utilised to support the Students' Loan Fund; the Land Administration Project to formalise land ownership; assistance to youth innovators; improvement to markets in Kingston; support for the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme; Inner-City Community and Schools' Sanitation Project, and the development of the SimÛn BolÌvar Cultural Centre," Simpson Miller said.

In addition to those projects, Simpson Miller told The Gleaner that since the inception of the PDF, more than $4.6 billion had been spent on social interventions, employment, cultural, and educational initiatives.