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UPDATE: Bill to acquire Petrojam shares to be tabled today, says Johnson Smith

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, has announced that Prime Minister Andrew Holness will this afternoon table a Bill to compulsorily acquire the 49 per cent shares in Petrojam, which are held by the Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDV) Caribe.

The Bill will be entitled, an 'Act to Provide for the Compulsory Acquisition of the Shares Held by PDV Caribe in Petrojam and for Connected Matters', at the next sitting of the House of Representatives.

Petrojam's parent company, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), sold the shares to PDV Caribe in 2007.

Johnson Smith said the Bill will not be debated today but noted that it must be passed in both the Lower and Upper House, which takes time.

“In the interest of the Jamaican people, our energy security and our economic stability, the Government will start the process today,” the minister said.

The Holness-led Administration signalled its decision to buy back the shares late last year, triggering arguments from the parliamentary Opposition questioning the constitutionality of a buy-back, and a wave of public discussion in which many argue that the move betrays the spirit of friendship and assistance between the two countries.

At this morning's press conference, Johnson Smith reiterated the government's position that the political and economic unrest in Venezuela, as well as the tightening sanctions being levied by the US government and the risk to which they expose Jamaica underlie the decision to recover the shares.

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