Towards an integrated Caribbean energy strategy (2004-2007)


With regard to energy production, the greater Caribbean remains a region dominated by hydrocarbons. The history of the latter mirrors that of its global counterpart. In evidence are the brutal clashes between Anglo-American companies and the producer countries regarding the ownership of the oil, the duration of concessions awarded, the level of prices and taxes, the refining locations and the choice of distribution outlets.

This region of Middle America in turn comprises major export producers like Mexico and Venezuela, crucial Antillean refining locations, and territories islands and Central American countries highly dependent on external links. A present-day balance sheet merits being drawn up. On the one hand, it appears to rekindle old conflicts of interest, on the other to open some new perspective for a world which remains greedy globally for an ever increasingly costly source of energy, whilst at the same time sensitive to reducing its dependence for environmental reasons, Middle America could well envisage a path into the future based on an integrated regional policy. This could be developed in three stages:

  • A review of conflicts of interest during the whole of the 20th century,
  • A new energy deal for the 21st century,
  • The new possibilities stemming from an integrated regional approach.

1. The exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Caribbean during the 20 th century

1.1. The total dominance of multinational companies (the “Majors”) and of the North American market during three-quarters of a century

1.1.1. The switching interests of the Mexican and Venezuelan companies

When the Mexican revolution erupted in 1910, Mexico was one of world's three major oil producers, together with the USA and Russia. The Revolution would alter underground property and mining rights, in favour of the state thereby cancelling concessions sold at low prices to Anglo-American companies. This national recovery of its natural resources attained its apogee in 1938 with the nationalisation of all hydrocarbons through the creation of the company PEMEX by the President L. Cardenas. It would prove to an extraordinary event, a precursor in the history of world oil, preceding by a third of a century the “shock” of oil nationalisation by Persia and Arabia.

From the 1920s onwards, American geologists searched for reliable sources of oil along the Caribbean coast of South America. In 1917 they discovered oil at Mene Grande on the eastern side of Lake Maracaibo. In order to retain some independence from Venezuelan jurisdiction, the Anglo-American consortium (EXXON and Shell) opted to refine this oil in the neighbouring islands of Curacao and Aruba, Dutch colonies, where each of the companies built a refinery, thereby reinforcing the ‘oil' vocation of these islands which had already benefitted from strong trading links, more or less legal, with Venezuela during the Spanish colonization of the 19th century. Curacao and Aruba were thus refining Venezuelan oil, the property of Shell and EXXON, which exported the refined products to the eastern seaboard of the US and Western Europe.


The two refineries would play a major role during World War II in supplying oil to Britain. In order to protect the convoys from German submarines, which patrolled as far as the Orinoco Delta, from 1941 onwards the US would establish a large aero-naval base at Chaguaramas, to the south-east of Trinidad, providing surveillance over the whole region, complementing their other bases in the Bahamas, Antigua, Barbados, and Rochambeau (French Guiana)). During the War, Venezuela moved to annex Aruba and Curacao, using the pretext of the German invasion of Holland. Past 1945, it required the determined effort by Holland, supported by the Allies, to recover the two islands.

Following the War, Venezuela exerted pressure on both companies for each to construct a refinery in the Paraguaná Peninsula to refine oil originating from Venezuelan beds. As a result, in the 1970s, four huge oil refineries (2 belonging to Shell, 2 to EXXON) treated this oil within a radius of just tens of kilometres. This redoubling of industrial capacity for geopolitical reasons had a certain parallel with the oil industry in Trinidad.

Similarly in Colombia, the first oil concession granted in 1905 was taken back in 1921 for 30 years by a subsidiary of Standard Oil, New Jersey. But these discoveries were less rich than those of Venezuela, and more distantly located from the coast (600 km).

1.1.2. Trinidad: globalisation at the scale of the Texaco Group

English interests are of long date in Trinidad, known since the Amerindian era for its natural asphalt deposits (Pitch Lake). Exploiting limited reserves, a refinery was established in the British colony. After 1945, Texaco took over the British investment and developed Trinidad as the logistics hubs of the group's complex internal distribution network. Oil landed at Trinidad, the crude exported to be refined in the United States whilst the huge refinery at Peter's Point imported crude oil from Indonesia and the Middle East, in order to export refined products to the US and Western Europe.

1.1.3. The West Indies, major pole of oil refining

From the 1960s, the US increased its imports of crude oil from the Middle East, transported by oil tankers of a size and displacement which could not be accommodated by the west coast ports. At the same time, growing demand for hydrocarbons implied growth in refining capacity, but coastal mainland population became increasingly opposed to the construction of new refineries. Reasons for turning to the West Indies by American oil companies were twofold: on the one hand, to construct new refineries and extend those already existing and, on the other, to resolve the wider logistical problem by setting-up relay ports at which ‘super tankers' could have their load transferred to ships more adapted to supplying the American ports.

The refineries of the multinational oil companies (the “majors”) located in the southern islands (Aruba, Curacao, and Trinidad) were enlarged. The independent companies chose rather to locate in Saint Croix and Grand Bahama because of their proximity to the US, and their more secure geopolitical status. St. Croix is part of the American Virgin Islands and the Bahamas Archipelago, independent since 1973, would become an economic annexe to nearby Florida. Relay-ports with storage tanks were established at Curacao, Saint Lucia, Saint Eustatius, and Grand Bahama.

During the 1960s, refineries of smaller capacity would be established, serving national market: Barbados, Jamaica, Antigua, as well as the countries of Central America.

Accordingly, within the Caribbean basin three types of refinery co-exist: those serving local markets, those sitting on rich reserves with export their surplus (Mexico, Venezuela, Trinidad), and those sited in remote insular location acting as relay-points between major producer countries (generally speaking the Middle East), and the North American markets (Saint Croix and the Bahamas). In total, this gives the region considerable weight in terms of global refining capacity. Venezuela, alone, had a capacity equal to three-quarters of that of the whole African continent, whilst that of the simple island of Saint Croix exceeded the total capacity of Saudi Arabia with its one refinery, the largest in America.

1.2. The consequences of the “oil crisis”

1.2.1. The nationalist movements of producer countries and their takeover of hydrocarbon resources

Created amidst general indifference by Venezuela in 1960, OPEC would, after 1970, become the spearhead of a conflict of interests between oil companies and producer states. Geopolitical tensions aside (the embargo against Israel in 1973, the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979), the two oil crises would lead to sharp rises in the price of a barrel of crude, but with the benefits accruing now to the producer states in terms of their share of taxes raised and the creation of publically owned companies. In 1976, for example, Venezuela nationalises the 14 companies located on its territory, regrouping them within PETROVEN (later to become PDVSA). Similarly, the public authorities in Trinidad assume the monopoly of the distribution of natural gas.

During this period, enormous reserves of hydrocarbons are discovered in Mexico, in the Gulf of Campeche. These give PEMEX the confidence (as with the case of PETROVEN) to undertake the development of a national petro-chemical industry, which had been the aspiration of the major multinational companies. By playing on the rivalry between the latter and other North American and European companies, Caribbean companies created their own joint stock enterprises drawing on foreign private capital. In this way, Trinidad embarks on the development at Point Lisas of an enormous industrial complex producing ammonia from natural gas, as well as the beginnings of a steel industry.

Mexico and Venezuela would use their “petrodollars” to diversify their industrial base. The former strengthen its steel-making capacity (Pacific Coast), developing mechanical engineering. The latter established a pole for heavy industries on the lower Orinoco: steel-making using local iron ore, aluminium metallurgy utilising home reserves or imported bauxite, the whole development based on the considerable hydro-electrical potential of the Orinoco (Guri Dam). Furthermore, the discovery of an immense belt of bituminous sands around the Orinoco (40 000 km2), whilst beyond current mining technology, augurs well for the future development of oil which some newspapers refer to as the “Venezuela Saudita.”

1.2.2. The obsolescence of West Indian refineries

The hike in the price of crude oil between 1971 and 1979 would completely upset the structure of the market for oil products. Combustibles (black products like fuel) faced competition from coal, natural gas and electricity, whether from hydraulic or nuclear sources. New developments in equipment would lead to a significant reduction in energy requirements for a multitude of products. In this respect, the Antillean refineries were of a very basic design aimed at providing heavy oils for the North American and European markets. In order to respond to the new requirements of an expanding market relating to motor fuels and petro-chemical products, refineries needed to be re-equipped to provide an expensive secondary distillation (the latter costs twice as much to install as the first distilling). It consists of “cracking” and “reforming” the heavier molecules to extract a more volatile “white” product like motor oil. In 1980, out of a total Caribbean refining capacity of 330 million tons, secondary distillation accounted for only 10% (4% for Venezuela alone). While US refineries produced 55% of petrol and jet fuel products as against 14% of heavy oils, Caribbean refineries were extracting only 20% of motor fuel as opposed to 52% heavy oils.

Their owners preferred to re-equip the mainland refineries. Consequently, over burdened with heavy oils difficult to sell, the island refineries (in their insular locations) became less and less profitable over the years. The major oil companies decided to sacrifice them. In 1985, Shell and EXXON sold their plants in Curacao and Aruba for purely nominal sums (the terms of sale specifying that the island authorities would abandon any future claims relating to any pollution found or inferred in which the original parent company might have been involved). Venezuela reacquired the Curacao site, and later that of Aruba. They had recouped ageing industrial plants and reduced their capacity. Texaco sold the refinery of Peter's Point to Trintoc (Trinidad National Oil Company); its capacity would be reduced by four-fifths in order to adjust to local markets and that of Caricom members.

Thus the beginning of the 1980s appeared to bring closure to the period of domination by the major oil companies regarding the Caribbean region's energy policy now confronted by the turbulence of the world oil market. The Caribbean basin quickly moved towards imposing a hold on its own regional oil interests, thereby following in the wake of its Middle Eastern counterparts.

The Treaty of San José (1975) sketched out the advantages of regional integration. Mexico and Venezuela, hitherto close ideologically agreed to provide cheap oil to the countries of Central America (except Panama) and to the Greater Antilles (Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and, in particular, Cuba). A special fund was created to invest in hydroelectric development in the region.

At the same time, a major part of the oil export of Mexico and Venezuela continued to supply the North American market. The latter continued to impose a strong influence on the operation of the Caribbean oil economy, much more than any impact exerted globally.

1.3. The revenge of foreign companies through the market

1.3.1. The return of cheap oil

In the mid 1980s, the world oil market would change course again for a number of reasons. On the one hand, OPEC lost its overall control of the oil market due to the emergence of new producers outside the organisation (Britain, Norway, USSR now Russia). On the other, the International Energy Agency pushed industrial countries to adopt economic strategies that were less energy consuming. The rapid rise of information technology favoured non-material products at the expense of traditional goods. Industrial processes become more economical in energy use.

Finally, the oil industry, highly capitalised, was seen to require heavy investment in the longer term. Faced with such a prospect, the major companies already held all the winning cards relating to finance, technology and organisation structures, not yet built up by the newer public companies in the oil producing countries. Often the latter had to seek aid from foreign companies for both the exploration and management of the oil production, logistics chain. With the collapse in the price of crude, the reserves of petrodollars fell sharply in turn reducing the freedom to act on the part of the producers. Without going back on previous decisions, they would leave their petro-capital to stagnate.

1.3.2. The triumph of free market economies in the face of the deceptive gains of petrodollar

Within the global economy, and driven by the United States, free market policies and a return to privatisation becomes the norm. The free circulation of capital and goods emerges as a dominant trend based on the stated policy of the US to transform the American continent into a free trade zone, an enlarged version of numerous common markets created across this zone from 1960 onwards. Even whilst remaining national domains strategically, the various oil sectors would be influenced by these developments.

Within the Caribbean Basin, the creation of NAFTA in 1994 would profoundly change the regional context. Henceforth, Mexico would become even more integrated within the market orbit of its North American neighbour (90% of its exports). Its economic diversification has been promoted through the “Maquiladoras” assembly line based factories by foreign firms (USA, EU, Japan), initially located in border towns, then spread throughout Mexican territory, whilst enlarging their product portfolio of activities. Several serious monetary crises underlined the weakness of the Mexican peso, and the readiness of private holders of Mexican capital to seek refuge north of the Rio Grande. Leaders, theirs policies and the influence of public authorities little by little would gradually lose out in an attrition which would not totally spare the PEMEX, confronted elsewhere by growing domestic consumption tending to reduce the export margin.

In Venezuela, the huge structural investments on the lower Orinoco appeared slightly at odds with a globalising world economy. A perceived economic laxness combined with a particular socio-cultural heritage determined that private interests would favour foreign investments (Miami), whilst the public sector, particularly oil, struggled to assume the whole load. If the PDVSA invested downstream in the oil chain (purchase of refineries and service stations abroad), it hat to enlist foreign companies in order hopefully to fund the exploitation of the heavy oils of the Orinoco.

Compared with the two “petro-economies” above, Colombia was becoming a medium-sized producer of hydrocarbons, but appreciated by foreign investors for its political liberalism reinforced by loyal allegiance to the United States. However, its oil potential remains threatened by guerrilla warfare which remains rife in this country. The mining of coal in the Guajira Peninsula (northeast), near the coast and easy to export; help to underpin its economic policy of liberalisation and privatisation.

2. The world new energy deal

2.1. Oil henceforth more expensive and with decreasing reserves

The current high price of hydrocarbons is the result of very different factors from those which unleashed the previous oil crises. At the present time, the tense state of the market results firstly from high demand in large part attributable to the emergence of the powerful Asian economies, notably China and India, with their massive energy consumption dependent on ever increasing imports. On the supply side, the Iraq crisis, the problems in Nigeria, the nationalised oil and gas industry in Russia, Iranian nuclear ambitions, and the activist oil policies of Venezuela, have reduced the margin for manoeuvre by the western oil companies, feeding speculation across the free market and removing scope for elasticity in production.

Most experts agree in accepting that the global production of hydrocarbons is finite, but differ on both its scale and timespan. This quasi certainty leads to the debate about an unavoidable ‘post-oil' era for a world economy still largely unprepared, whilst climatologists and ecologists furiously denounce the heavy responsibility borne by present energy consumption in the growth of the greenhouse effect, the major factor in global warming.

Faced with this new context, viewed in more or less dramatic terms depending on which experts , a growing body of opinion envisages a definitively high oil price for which supply can no longer be increased, and nor can demand be managed. The search for substitute energy sources, more eco-friendly if possible, thus becomes a quasi necessity.

2.2. Oil activism in Venezuela

For many, the rise to power of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela has been accompanied a strong level of oil-related political activism. Chávez has taken control of the country's oil sector (in March 2007, he nationalised the Orinoco oil field), which after 30 years of public ownership had lost its dynamism. Partisan of a “bolivarian” ideology, politically a socialism marked by strong anti-Americanism, but economically tied to a free market, Chávez uses the fiscal receipts of the oil sector to finance his socio-political programme (subsidised basic foodstuffs, investments in the education and health sectors). Wielding power which he seeks to hold onto into the future, Hugo Chávez also applies this “petro-politics” abroad. He constantly taken issue with the projected North American continental free trade zone and denounces all such free trade treaties between the US and any Latin American country.

It is also through the use of oil power that Chávez re-launched the San José Accord (see above 1.2.2.). This time, Mexico is not in agreement and even opposes Venezuela on a project for an oil refinery in Central America. The “Chavist” re-launch is more ideological than its 1975 predecessor, and gives priority to Cuba which would receive half of the promised 9 million tons of oil. This new accord could provide the essential framework of an integrated, regional energy policy, not withstanding its strong ideological guise; it does correspond to the obvious needs of Central America and of the Greater Antilles.

Venezuelan policy is also characterised by a strong bias towards South America following its membership of MERCOSUR in 2006. Whilst the Venezuela-Brazil gas pipeline project remains a little hazy, Venezuela's support for Bolivia's oil policy demonstrates that Hugo Chávez aspires to the leadership of Latin-American oil nationalism. In order to lessen the dominance of the North American market, which constitutes its main outlet, Venezuela has recently signed accords with China, avidly in search of oil imports. This represents a new geopolitical dimension, given that China possesses the necessary capital, technology and could in years to come, become a substitute client to the US, and the same applies to India.

2.3. The Trinidadian gas project

Trinidad is the main supplier of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) to the US and is not part of the “Bolivarian” political faction. Providing refined products and bottled gas to a large part of the Eastern Caribbean (Lesser Antilles); Trinidad is attempting to promote within a public/private consortium, a gas pipeline project serving the whole length of the Antillean arc as far as Puerto Rico. Notwithstanding numerous obstacles, political, financial, technical, this pipeline will provide a practical source of domestic energy, as well as one serving sea-water desalination plants for use in islands largely frequented by tourists, and the fuel for power stations in island clusters largely dependent on external sources.

3. The long, broken path to an integrated Caribbean energy policy

3.1. An area dominated by hydrocarbons, a regionally concentrated wealthy resource

Table 1: Production and reserves of hydrocarbons in Central America
Oil shown in millions of tons – gas in billions of m3










































1 900



11 500




4 300









13 520

5 270


Grand Total



13 831

5 390

Source: Atlaseco 2007 AIE


Table 1 shows the geographical concentration of this wealthy resource in four countries of which two, Mexico and Venezuela, play a dominant role. Accordingly, each year, the ACS member states produce 100 billion m3 of natural gas and nearly 400 million tons of oil (i.e. 4% and 10% respectively of the world total). As in the whole of the American continent, hydrocarbons make up the major proportion of energy consumed. The model aspired to remains that of North America with its high energy consumption. The latter serves to heat, to cool and remain mobile. As with its mentor to the North, the Caribbean basin has barely registered either the energy savings possible, or the necessary switch to other energy sources.

The high degree of urbanisation within this tropical environment leads occasionally to excessive use of air conditioning, which in contrast to seasonal heating, remains switched on all year round in well-off homes, publics spaces and private vehicles. The mediocrity of the public transport system reinforces the demand for private vehicles where fuel economy is not a priority. Wealthy Caribbean regularly use air transport, often privately owned, high in kerosene fuel consumption in which the region is not self-sufficient. The extreme paucity of the railway network means that most freight is transported by road, with its high diesel consumption, obvious pollution and inevitable congestion.

As for other fossil fuels, only Colombia is a notable producer of coal (northeast region) which it exports as a source of thermal power. Mexico is the only producer of nuclear generated electricity (4% of its electricity), as the Cuban plan once installed by the Russians appears not to be operational.

3.2. The delay in renewable energies, with the exception of hydro-electricity

3.2.1. The progress in hydraulic generation in Central America

Table 2: Balance sheet of energy sources in Central America (2004)

Oil producers

Total energy production

Energy consumption in M 6 TEP

% hydro-electric of the total electricity production

















  Greater Antilles




 Dominican Republic













  Central America

 Costa Rica

 El Salvador























Source: AIE – Atlaseco 2007


Within the ACS, the mainland stats enjoy a high hydraulic energy potential. Most have built numerous retention dams supplying power and water for irrigation. Loans from the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) have been used to provide funding for the most economic schemes in terms of their hydraulic potential. Table 2 reveals the contrast between a Central America region where Nicaragua remains exceptionally backward and the Greater Antilles with its generally weak hydraulic potential. A few plants have been completed but the number remains insufficient. In the Lesser Antilles, the development of micro-hydraulic power stations is still rare. The three Guianas have only very partially exploited their potential which remains both complex and high cost.

3.2.2. Biomass: Timber, the fuel of the poor

Wood has always been the fuel of the most deprived. Haiti provides the most catastrophic regional example. Two centuries of cutting down trees for charcoal resulted in the deforestation of the island. Elsewhere, in the islands and mainland margins, plantation agriculture was introduced in often fragile forested areas. The cultivation of sugar, tobacco, cotton, bananas and coffee pushed back to Antillean forest to relic status, which subsequently has never been brought back into woodland use. Only the ONF (French Forestry Commission) in the French Antilles has sought to develop this rich natural resource, but up to the present not as an energy option.

On the mainland, precious woodland attracted timber felling for centuries in Belize (formerly British Honduras) or in eastern Nicaragua. As in the Antillean islands, plantation agriculture encroached on the plains and higher altitude basins. Traditional agriculture favoured burning at the expanse of woodland, now increasingly protected. Indeed, fuel extracted from biomass is no longer current across the region, not least in a rationalised renewable energy context.

3.2.3. Neglected solar potential

In this tropical environment of high sunshine hours the use of solar energy remains purely anecdotal. Imitating its American neighbour, only the peninsula of Mexican California has seen solar energy exploited, mainly at a domestic rather than public scale. The potential remains considerable and would allow bringing domestic comfort to numerous rural areas without either mains water supply or electricity.

3.2.4. Geothermal potential and the take-off of wind energy in the Antilles

The volcanism of the Lesser Antilles and Central America suggests the presence of enormous geothermal reserves. Only Guadeloupe possesses a power station using this source of energy, which would further exploit numerous “Soufriere” scattered across these islands, whose main sources of energy derives from conventional fuel powered plants.

It is also Guadeloupe that has invested the most in wind energy, with a target of providing 20% of its needs. The high population densities of the islands, however, constitute an obstacle to the location of wind farms likely to benefit from wind breezes.

3.3. The inadequacies in both equipment and networks

At the level of both production and transport distribution of energy, the Caribbean suffers from many inadequacies. Hence the numerous power cuts that disrupt daily life in Jamaica, Dominican Republic and, even more so, Haiti. This situation results from short coming in production, but also the low quality of poorly maintained network: overloaded and often tapped by illegal users.

Too many isolated rural areas are deprived of electricity in Central America or in Haiti. Recourse to independent generators is common practice as much on a professional as a domestic level, but only if there is continued access to the fuel source which increasingly in many islands is the fuel oil indispensable to the production of desalinated sea water. The frequency of cyclones and the high level of seismic activity continues to damage the existing grids (in September 1989, cyclone Hugo destroyed several thousand power line poles across the one island of Guadeloupe.

The producers of hydrocarbons regionally depend on an ageing logistical infrastructure (Maracaibo Lake) or one that is already inadequate. The region's refining capacity inherited from a long history of dependence (cf. 1.2.2. above) is insufficient to respond to increasing needs and necessitates importing refined products, including those from the oil producer countries.

Projects for the installation of gas terminals are envisaged within the region. Nnatural gas is transported by sea as methane liquefied at 160°. This necessitates a liquefaction plant upstream and regasification at the destination point, two high cost processes. The current regional projects include a supplementary liquefaction plant in Trinidad, one in Venezuela and regasification plants in the Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Mexican Pacific coast.

The Trinidadian gas pipeline project envisages a network aligned along the arc of the Lesser Antilles. However, the physical constraints of insularity greatly increase the costs of a fixed inter-island network, whether entailing electric cable or gas pipeline, because the separation of these small islands by turbulent deeps sea channels characterised by strong transverse currents. The Venezuelan “petro-Caribbean” plan would place the prospects for an integrated regional energy strategy on a strong footing. However, in this key sector the weight of past inheritances remain considerable.

The region was subjected to a colonial history during the European powers fought between themselves for long periods. Decolonisation followed modalities dictated by the former metropoles, leaving behind fragmented legacies of the British, Dutch, American, and French presence. If one adds half a century of masked conflicts between the US and Cuba, the end result has been a veritable puzzle of energy policies. So the French Antilles have their own separate oil distribution network, with a refinery in Martinique, which provides most of the needs of that zone. In contrast, French Guyana satisfies its requirement through buying from its neighbours Curacao and Trinidad. Puerto Rico and the American Virgin islands are integrated within the US market.


If the experience of the Caribbean Basin closely parallels the global history of oil, it currently presents a situation, which in terms of policy directions can offer an example of region integration, but only if the region can separate itself from the strong antagonisms that divide north from south in the American continent.

The wealth in fossils fuels has been noted: the coal exploited in Colombia is equally abundant in Venezuela, but not mined. The discovery of new oil reserves in the future will probably be located offshore at great depth in the Gulf of Mexico, whereas Venezuela awaits a but return from its immense bitumen belt around the lower Orinoco.

The potential for renewable energies, to date ignored or rejected, has barely been broached with the exception of hydro-electric power. As for bio-fuels, if their future appears promising after the recent signed accord (March 2007) between the US and Brazil, can it be adapted to present day middle America? Devoting part of its cultivated area to bio-energy products hardly appears likely in over-populated islands. The current Cuban agricultural regime does not appear ready yet to contemplate any reconversion away from its sugar cane potential. Central America presents a very unequal agrarian land-use pattern, and opening up new agricultural uses might prove potentially dangerous for the environment, and would not resolve the agrarian crisis. The same would apply to Venezuela or the Guianas, less densely populated but very urbanised, with an imperative to protect the forest cover.

Without drifting into the utopian, the ACS members can construct a path towards real regional integration in the domain of energy. But by enlarging the palette of their own available sources of energy, many islands and some mainland states could significantly lower their dependency. For that to happen, the populations must accept that energy is a costly and precious resource, which must be used economically. With such a perspective, everything is to play for, and the margins for savings are without doubt considerable.

Such policies demand irreversible commitments on the part of public authorities, indispensable dedicated, private networks and regulatory bodies to safeguard a rich resource which retains all its geopolitical and geostrategic power... were it not for the powerful tutelage of this Caribbean space by the United States.


Author: Jean-Pierre Chardon
Translation:  : Louis Shurmer-Smith