KINGSTON, April 25, 2018 - The Venezuelan Government through its oil company PDVSA, is still examining the Jamaican Government's proposal to purchase its 49% share holdings in Petrojam, according to Energy Minister Dr. Andrew Wheatley.
In provided an update on the talks in the House of Representatives on Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Wheatley told parliamentarians that Venezuela is yet to commit to a date to visit Jamaica to finalise discussions on the government's offer to buy back the company's 49 per cent stake in Petrojam.
He said the Government was concerned about the seeming lack of appreciation by the Venezuelans of the importance of the matter to Jamaica's energy security.
He noted that the last time PDVSA communicated with the government was April 16, when it enquired about its tax obligation should it accept the buyback offer.
The minister said stakeholder consultations were conducted with Tax Administration Jamaica at the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, and a response was provided to PDV Caribe on April 17th, 2018.
"It is our understanding that PDVSA Caribe's legal team is examing our response and we will press, Mr. Speaker, for a response in short order," Mr. Wheatley told the House.
However, Phillip Paulwell, Opposition Spokesman on Energy, felt the update was unfair to the Venezuelans.
"I am wondering what is the strategy behind this, if we are not setting the stage for unfortunate occurences later; and I'm just putting it this way because I'm not too sure, minister, that it is appropriate that having made a proposal and within the short space of time to almost lamenting that you have not received a response," he asserted.
He argued that the government was not doing enough to sensitise banks that are reluctant to do business with Petrojam that a US sanction on Venezuelan companies does not apply to Petrojam.
Jamaica formally offered to buy back the Petrojam shares last month following fallout caused by a US government executive order restricting transactions with oil rich Venezuela.