Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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Petrocaribe Runnings
(Aired 28 April 2015)

    In the Kaieteur News of Tuesday 5th 2014 there is an article captioned "Agriculture Ministry eying higher price markets for rice as production keeps climbing"

     This looks innocent enough, but is it an attempt to deceive the rice farmers that there can be a solution for them to keep producing at un-competitively high prices. The PPP just don't seem to care, its very strange, they are incompetent to give good national production results especially in agriculture, so they deceive farmers that all is well, to keep them producing and let the cards fall where they may, the Skeldon sugar cane farmers are a good example, mostly they are all bankrupt, and now Uitvlught is giving land for farmers to cultivate cane when GuySuCo cannot do it themselves due to numerous constraints, the PPP continue to deceive their own supporters into taking risks simply to show more production, and if the farmers go bankrupt it's OK. I repeat I just don't understand it, and the farmers keep falling for theses shenanigans over and over again, blindly following a set of totally immoral people.

   Agriculture minister Ramsammy misleads us by telling us of the huge challenges the PPP have had to overcome to achieve the overwhelming success of the rice industry, but the real situation may be completely different.

   The Petrocaribe deal was initiated by Hugo Chavez to buy support from his Caribbean neighbors. To buy this support he began selling the 14 countries which signed the deal including Guyana Gasoline and oil from Venezuela under preferential conditions, which would make them indebted to him and therefore support him whatever he may decide to do there.

   The Guyana chronicle of 7th August 2014 tells us that Donald Ramoutar as head of the Government of Guyana, officially commissioned the Hugo Chavez Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintegration, a facility for homeless persons in West Berbice which has received extensive funding from the Government of Venezuela through PetroCaribe.

Chavez nationalised foreign and local assets including the US's, he all but destroyed the economy of Venezuela before he died, he violated the human rights of countless numbers of his citizens and his plan worked, since we have said nothing in criticism of him, in fact we are now honouring him.

    Venezuela is an OPEC nation and they cannot sell the fuel at less than the internationally agreed prices of OPEC, so Chavez put in place a system where he can bribe his neighbours to support him, by giving them the oil at the OPEC prices but with massive concessions.

   We don't know exactly what the concession for Guyana are, but they can be substantial, I extracted the following from the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper also a signatory of PetroCaribe "The PetroCaribe programme, an agreement between Venezuela and some Caribbean territories to purchase oil on preferential terms, allows the Government of Jamaica to convert 40 per cent of fuel payments annually to a loan repayable over 25 years at 1% interest.

The funds flowing from the arrangement are managed by the PetroCaribe Development Fund [PDF] which earns from loans packaged for the public sector and from investment returns" and the fund is huge, amounting to date of a loan portfolio of J$206 billion.

   There is no such arrangement we know of in Guyana, but we know that the Government of Guyana [GOG] brings in the fuel/oil from Venezuela through the GEA and sells it to the local gas stations and GPL at full price, but since they are only required to pay 60%, if the GoG is taking advantage of this preferential arrangement and are only paying 60% of the total cost of the fuel whilst selling to the local Gas stations at the full price, where does the 40% collected from the gas stations and private users go? If what is visible in this matter is true, this has the capacity to make the lotto funds fraud a joke in comparison. Our annual fuel bill is US$350 million, 40% would represent $140 million or G$ 28 billion per year!

    In addition the farmers are making the following allegations, the Venezuelans are paying US $520 per metric ton or G $105,000 per metric ton.

   Shipping cost from Guyana to Venezuela is set at US $30 or G $6,060; Transportation and loading cost Guyana normally -G $7,000; Drying and cleaning cost (decent margin miller included)-G $11,000; leaving a net paddy price of $80,915. The farmers say that all of these charges including the shipping is too high. But even then the price per bag for paddy should be G $5150 per bag but farmers are being paid (if lucky) G $3150 per bag leaving a profit of G $2000 per bag to the government. Dr Douga former CEO of the Alesie Group estimates that if we have exported to Venezuela 750,000 metric tons so far the profit the government makes is is G$23,625,000,000 (twenty three billion six hundred and 25 million dollars)

    But it does not end there the shipping cost which should be estimated as above ad US$30 per Metric ton is actually boosted to US$ 68 per metric ton (equal to the price for shipping to Europe which is approximately 10 times the distance).This is done through middle men all known PPP acolytes. From this shipping it is estimated that the profit to the shipping is $38 US per metric ton so if we did export so far 750,000 metric tons the skim off from the shipping of the rice/paddy to Venezuela could be as high as US$ 28,500,000. Twenty eight million US dollars. Of 5.7 Billion G dollars. There is a requirement to take US$ 10 per metric ton for a Social Fund. So far it is estimated that the total social fund deductions by government is over 2.175 billion G dollars! The farmers, and frankly, neither do I know what this fund is and what social enterprise it is intended to fund. There is much more ladies and gentlemen but I will stop here analyzing all this thieving is giving me a head ache. It is probably why no rice farmer will vote for the PPP.