Holness to make statement to House on Petrojam buy-back today

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness is scheduled to make a statement in the House of Representatives Tuesday afternoon on the government's decision to acquire Venezuela's 49 per cent share in the Petrojam oil refinery.

This follows the recent announcement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson, of the government's intention to take legislative action to take ownership of the 49 per cent owned by Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company, PDV Caribe.

This was confirmed in a tweet from Holness yesterday which stated:“The GOJ will decisively move to take full ownership Petrojam. We intend to bring legislation to take the 49% shares in Petrojam currently owned by our Venezuelan partners. This decision is in Jamaica's economic interest and is crucial to our energy security.”

However, the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) has said that it is against the takeover of Venezuela's shares in the refinery.

Opposition's spokesman on energy, Phillip Paulwell, has said that the move was “particularly premature”, given the fact that a government appointed committee is currently looking into the future of the refinery, and is scheduled to make a report in May on its findings and recommendations. “While we have been trying to negotiate an agreement to buy back, the urgency of the matter has increased as geopolitical conditions related to Venezuela have not improved since the issuance of the US executive order in August 2017,” she said over the week-end.

“The circumstances increase the potential for it to become even more difficult for Petrojam to operate - to make payments and use international banking services, solely because of the ownership stake held by Venezuela. All of these challenges have had to be addressed at great cost to Petrojam,” she added.

Balford Henry

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