KINGSTON, Jamaica, January 9, 2018 - Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips is intimating that the Jamaican government's decision to take over Venezuela's 49 per cent stake in Petrojam could be less about energy and more about helping to destabilise the embattled Nicolas Maduro Administration.
Dr. Phillips in an interview with Radio Jamaica said the decision to take possession of the shares was perplexing arguing that there is no justification for dealing with Venezuela in this manner noted that the decision was jeopardising Jamaica's reputation as a safe place to invest.
Dr. Phillips said he has been left to wonder whether there is an ulterior motive for the move :"We all know that there are hemispheric interests that disagree with the Venezuelan authorities and there has been talk of regime change. What I would not like to believe is that the Jamaican government is acting at this time because it wants to be part of this general push to destabilise the government in Venezuela," the Opposition Leader said.
Dr. Phillips lamented that it would be a step backward if Jamaica were to follow through on its plan.
He argued that Prime Minister Andrew Holness could have met directly with the Venezuelan president, requested assistance from a CARICOM partner or gone to an international arbitration panel to settle the matter before jumping to the last resort.
He is urging a return to negotiations to see whether an amicable solution can be found.
The government said steps have been taken to appease Jamaica's international partners, some of whom were surprised by news of the planned retake of ownership.
Jamaica's Foreign Minister Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith described Dr. Phillips' concerns as baseless, maintaining that the move was not political.
"Petrojam is about Petrojam...The issue is purely economic. It is in Jamaica's national interest with a view to protecting our energy security.
There is nothing political about our decision at all; and we will continue to say we remain open to not only communicating generally, but we remain open to discussing options if the Venezuelans were to change their minds about accepting the offer or if there were something else reasonable they wish to put on the table," Senator Johnson-Smith asserted.
Last modified onWednesday, 09 January 2019 23:47
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