The Prime Minister had a total of 16 meetings. Three topics discussed were: the situation in Venezuela, the refinery and economic development.
The crisis in Venezuela:
For this important topic, the prime ministers met with Deputy Administrator of the US International Development Agency (USAID); Mrs. Bonnie Glick, Mr. Elliott Abrams Special Representative of the State Department; Under Secretary of the State Department David Hale, Secretary-General of Organization of American States (OAS) Mr. Luis Almagro and Charles Kupperman; Deputy National Security Advisor to the Trump Administration. The current situation in Venezuela and the impact it has on the islands were discussed in detail including the humanitarian, public health and security aspects. Valuable information was received by the island’s delegations and important agreements have been made on how to handle te situation from now on and the possibility of the US administration assisting with these challenges.
The meetings about the refinery were held at the State Department and also at the OFAC. Lastly they met with the Under Secretary of Treasury; Mr. Sigal Mandelker and talked about the license CITGO recently received. The Prime Minister stated that she did receive more information on this license and will deliberate and analyze the contents of the license thoroughly before defining the next steps of the Aruba Government regarding the Citgo. Valuable information was received on the Citgo license that were so far unknown to the Government. They also cleared some erroneous information provided by the Citgo.
“I want to take the time to evaluate the situation within the Government first before defining the next steps. The good news is that if Aruba takes over the refinery and specifically the terminal, then we won’t have any issues with the OFAC. The situation of CITGO is not easy but we are on the right track” according to the Prime Minister.
The meetings with the Chamber of Commerce in Washington and multiple delegations of the World Bank to seek assistance for economic development in Aruba were very beneficial.
The Prime Minister presented the economic vision recently proposed by the Minister of Economy and the Government to the World Bank and Chamber of Commerce. Both institutions were very intrigued by the plans. Many contacts have been made in order to continue negotiations to further seek investors willing to invest in the economy of Aruba and Curacao.
A special meeting was also held with the “Doing Business Team” of the world Bank, a very interesting project to help countries make their system simple and nimble. This will be very beneficial for investors to do business in Aruba; to simplify and eliminate the bureaucracy in order to make it easier to establish a business on the islands. A consensus was reached on this matter.
The mission was finalized with a visit to the US Congress were they met with US Congress State Representatives Gregory Meeks (New York) and Stacey Plaskett (Virgin Islands) where they talked about the impact of the migratory crisis in Venezuela on the islands of Aruba and Curacao.