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PetroCaribe oil to Jamaica cut as Venezuela crisis continues

Senator Kamina Johnson Smith

 

There has been a major reduction in the amount of crude oil Jamaica receives from Venezuela under the PetroCaribe agreement.
    
The arrangement facilitates preferential access to oil on favourable terms from Venezuela to some Caribbean territories.
    
With the ongoing economic and social crisis in the South American country, there has been much uncertainty surrounding the PetroCaribe agreement.  
      
Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on Thursday sought to assure Jamaicans that the programme remains in place.                   
 
She however noted that Jamaica has been receiving significantly less barrels of oil per day in recent months.

"The original quota would have been approximately 23-24 thousand barrels per day and that has fallen close to 1,300 (barrels per day). So production has reduced in Venezuela and therefore, our imports from Venezuela have reduced as well, proportionately," she declared, adding that the Jamaican Government has been looking to the world market to fill the gap.  
    
The foreign affairs minister was speaking at a quarterly press briefing at her Dominica Drive offices in New Kingston on Thursday morning. 

Review

Meanwhile, Cabinet has appointed a special committee to review Jamaica's trade arrangements with Venezuela as well as matters relating to the PetroCaribe deal.
    
The group established last week is being chaired by the foreign affairs minister. It is expected to make its first report to Cabinet next week.
      
Senator Johnson Smith said the committee will be closely monitoring developments in Venezuela to ensure that the country is not exposed to any significant shocks.
    
The Jamaican Government, she added, is hoping for a peaceful resolution to the economic and social challenges now facing the South American country.

"Jamaica continues to engage with our colleague countries, with member countries of the OAS, including CARICOM member states, to promote dialogue. We have consistently maintained the position that Venezuela should engage with its own national stakeholders through an inclusive and mediated process with a view to peaceful resolution and to resolving their domestic challenges," said the minister. 

She said the Jamaican government is maintaining its stance of non-interference regarding the worsening political and economic crisis in Venezuela.
 
Venezuela protests

Meanwhile, at least three people have been killed in Venezuela in protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
    
A teenager in the capital Caracas and a woman in San Cristobal, near the Colombian border, were shot dead. A national guardsman was killed south of the capital.
   
Tens of thousands of people rallied to demand new presidential elections and the release of jailed opposition politicians.
      
Mr. Maduro accused the opposition of attacking police. He also accused them of looting shops, saying that more than 30 arrests had been made.
   
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles has called for further mass protests.



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