Above: Kingston (CJ Photo)
Jamaica has received $2.4 billion USD in funding support thanks to its PetroCaribe agreement with the government of Venezuela, according to Dr Wesley Hughes, CEO of the PetroCaribe Development Fund.
The funding total, which covers the period from July 2005 to January 2013, has financed projects at the local and national level.
The $2.4 billion is a loan allocation spanning 25 years, at 1 percent per year, with a two-year grace period.
It was the brainchild of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who died earlier this month.
“The late President was a visionary behind the regional agreement, which has benefitted many Caribbean countries…in the wake of the very hard and difficult times we are passing through,” Hughes said, calling it a “significant amount of assistance.”
PetroCaribe’s project reach has extended to the Jamaica Social Investment Fund, which has helped build and refurbish facilities following a Memorandum of Understanding between PetroCaribe and the JSIF in 2011.
“It’s a very wide-ranging memorandum, and we intend to maintain our relationship (with JSIF) as long as we have funding to be spent at the community level,” Hughes said. “Providing significant social and physical infrastructure, stimulating growth and supporting the development of human capital is the heart and soul of our collaboration with JSIF and other institutions, in building capacity in the country, utilizing the resources of the PetroCaribe Fund.”
Venezuela’s upcoming presidential election has brought the issue of PetroCaribe back to the forefront, with observers questioning what will happen to the funding if either Acting President Nicolas Maduro, or Opposition challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski, wins the vote.