Opposition Spokesman on Energy, Phillip Paulwell, says the proposed compulsory reacquisition of Venezuela’s 49 per cent stake in Petrojam might be a smokescreen for the Government of Jamaica’s real plan for the oil refinery.

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The former Energy Minister says it’s not about upgrading the facility, noting that the government recently returned $100-million to the Finance Ministry which was earmarked for upgrading the refinery.

Mr Paulwell says suggestions to shut down the local oil refinery have long been in the pipelines.

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He says the government now has to signal to the country what is its position on the future of the oil refinery.

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In the meantime, Chairman of the Petrojam Review Committee, Christopher Zacca, is dismissing the Opposition spokesman’s suggestions of a buyback smokescreen to shutdown Petrojam’s refinery operations.

But, Mr Zacca says he’s not ruling out the possibility of divesting the oil refinery. He says the committee is presently nowhere near arriving at any major decisions on the future of the refinery.

The Chairman is also not ruling out the possibility of an upgrade for Petrojam.

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Mr Zacca says agreeing a price is a major issue preventing Kingston and Caracas from signing off on the buy-back.

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