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Paulwell hoping PetroCaribe deal will remain despite Venezuelan election results

Published:Wednesday | December 9, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell.

Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell says the Government is optimistic that the PetroCaribe agreement with Venezuela will be maintained despite the change in the balance of power following Parliamentary elections in the South American country.

Sections of Venezuela’s opposition coalition which earlier this week gained the majority of seats to push President Maduro's Socialist lawmakers from Parliament have been against the continuation of the PetroCaribe deal.

Last night, Paulwell said he did not want to be drawn into what he said was internal Venezuelan politics.

But Paulwell said he was hopeful that PetroCaribe would remain intact:


Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell speaking with Damion Mitchell of The Gleaner/Power 106 News

Under PetroCaribe, CARICOM countries buy oil at the market rate but get up to 25 years to pay the bill at an interest rate of one per cent per annum.

With Venezuela’s economy under intense pressure, President Maduro earlier this year offered to discount Jamaica’s 3.2 billion US dollar oil debt if it could immediately pay up 1.5 billion US dollars.

The Jamaican Government took the offer and raised US$2 billion on the open market, much more than the US$1.5 billion it needed to clear the discounted debt.