THE TT Government and Haiti have signed an energy agreement that will enable state agencies National Petroleum, Petrotrin and the National Energy Corporation (NEC) to undertake cooperative initiatives in the areas of energy, energy security and energy exploration in Haiti.
The agreement will pave the way for construction of port facilities and establishment of nine NP gas stations in Haiti. It will also provide for the establishment of a task force to move forward with initiatives.
TT Trade and Investment Minister Vasant Bharath and his Haitian counterpart Wilson Laleau signed the agreement yesterday at the Trinidad Hilton in the presence of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Haiti President Michel Martelly and TT Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine. The signing took place on the margins of the just-concluded inaugural Caricom-Japan summit
The initial agreement will have a time frame of ten years with provision for renewal every five years.
In brief remarks Persad-Bisssessar noted the talks between the two governments began two years ago. The agreement for TT facilitating the investment, she meant a lot as it will continue to generate revenue for continued employment of citizens of TT.
“We are happy you have sought our energy products rather than from outside,” she said. Apart from selling the local brands, she said petroleum products going into Haiti will be on a duty free basis which will allow citizens to benefit from reduced costs.
In response, Martelly said the investments will help to create jobs in Haiti. Energy exploration, he said has begun. He expressed enthusiasm at being able to obtain the local products at a better price, “than we are getting it elsewhere.”
The initiative will not only provide jobs for Haitians Martelly said, but it will strengthen relationships and cooperation. “We have been talking as brothers and sisters for the longest while, but I think a concrete project like this was missing among our countries,” he said. NP Chairman Neil Gosine noted that in addition to the nine NP gas stations, a subsidiary company to market Petrotrin products and an NP office will be established in the coming months to begin operationalisation within the next six to nine months. Petrotrin Chairman Lindsay Gillette noted that NP and Petrotrin have worked closely on the agreement.
“The situation is extremely critical in terms of fuel,” he said noting that 120,000 barrels a day are needed in Haiti. The first set of barrels, he said should leave TT for Haiti in a couple of months. The NEC will work with the Haitian government on the port project.