JLP General Secretary, Dr. Horace Chang, says reasonable minded Jamaicans may be led to question the patriotism of the PNP and its agents following the Opposition’s reaction to the Government’s decision to use parliament to retake control of Venezuela’s 49-percent stake in Petrojam.

Opposition spokespersons, Phillip Paulwell and Lisa Hanna, yesterday blasted the Government as being hostile towards Venezuela and said the PNP will not support the decision.

In a statement this afternoon, Dr. Chang said he’s shocked at the reaction of the Opposition to the Government’s move to respond to the urgent need to protect Jamaica’s energy security.

Dr. Chang says it must be noted that Foreign Affairs Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith, disclosed yesterday that the decision of the Government was made following protracted unsuccessful negotiations with Jamaica’s valued partners, Venezuela.

The JLP General Secretary says Minister Johnson Smith further explained that the decision was made in the context of the increasing threat to the viability of Petrojam both from sanctions imposed by the USA and changing local market conditions.

Dr. Chang says the decision became even more imminent because Jamaica could not secure an agreement with its joint venture partner on the upgrade of the finery which would put Petrojam in a place to mitigate against the fall-off in demand for heavy fuel oil when JPS shifts a large portion of its electricity production to LNG.

The JLP General Secretary says he’s disappointed that despite this context, Paulwell and Miss Hanna chose to argue Venezuela’s case while at the same time chiding the Government of Jamaica for taking action in response to a threat to Jamaica’s energy security and potential for economic growth.

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