Opposition ‘Perplexed’ by Legislation to Re-Take Venezuela’s Petrojam Shares

The Peoples’ National Party (PNP) says it’s perplexed by the government’s tabling of proposed legislation in the House of Representatives today to retake Venezuela’s 49-per cent stake in Petrojam.

In a statement moments ago, Opposition Spokeswoman on Foreign Affairs, Lisa Hanna, says the draft law will fall off the Order Paper with the prorogation of Parliament at midnight tonight. She says the government has now indicated that it’s proceeding on two tracks and the PNP trusts that it will not be necessary to pass the legislation.

Ms. Hanna describes the statement of Foreign Affairs Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith, earlier today as backpedalling. She says this is indicative of the fact that the government is now convinced that it was heading in the wrong direction.

Ms. Hanna says the PNP hoped that the opening of negotiations would lead to finding a way to consummate an agreement, despite the present restrictions on Venezuela. She says the situation of Jamaica departing from its core foreign policy principles is becoming far too frequent under Minister Kamina Johnson Smith.

Ms. Hanna describes the Minister’s position on global and regional issues as hawkish, which is excluding Jamaica from being an honest broker in CARICOM and internationally. She also says the PNP’s warning the government against recognizing the interim Guaido Administration in Venezuela.

The Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman says it would be unconstitutional and unprecedented in Jamaica’s foreign relations history for this to be done.

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