Saint Vincent & the Grenadines Prime Minister Gonsalves recalled the benefits the Caribbean region obtained from the Venezuelan oil cooperation.
At the conclusion of its 43rd regular meeting in Suriname on Wednesday, the heads of government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) confirmed their commitment to resolving the main problems affecting the region.
Among those pending challenges, they highlighted the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic and political crisis in Haiti, and the regional damage caused by the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela.
The CARICOM countries approved a strategy for advancing energy security that seeks to increase the use of hydrocarbon resources towards "reducing dependency on external resources and supplying the growing global needs arising out of the Russia-Ukraine conflict."
As part of this process of strengthening the Caribbean energy security, the CARICOM heads of government urged the removal of the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela to allow for countries in the region to benefit from the PetroCaribe initiative.
The U.S. unilateral sanctions implemented during President Donald Trump's administration (2017-2021) had particularly detrimental effects because "in practice they put an end to the PetroCaribe agreement," said Saint Vincent & the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who recalled the benefits that the region obtained from the Venezuelan oil cooperation.
The Caribbean energy security strategy will be carried out jointly with initiatives to mitigate the devastating implications of climate change for Small Island and Low-Lying Coastal Developing States (SIDS). The CARICOM leaders noted that critical economic sectors and infrastructure would be severely affected by global climate change.
"This would require considerable public and private investment and necessitate urgent access to adequate, predictable, affordable climate finance, at scale, to achieve climate resilient development," the CARICOM stated, requesting that the current international climate change architecture be reformed to accelerate CARICOM SIDS access to multilateral funds.