Holness steers clear of calls for sanctions against Venezuela
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has stated that Jamaica is no longer getting oil from Venezuela but has avoided saying whether his administration supports the economic isolation of the South American country in the international community.
The US, whose Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Jamaica Wednesday, has been calling for sanctions over the current political and economic crisis in Venezuela demanding that the South American country seeks to hold democratic elections.
Tillerson was expected to push that agenda during talks with the prime minister.
Questioned whether Jamaica would support the US position by boycotting Venezuelan oil, Holness responded that Jamaica does not now import the fuel from Venezuela and suggested the US could be a new source.
Jamaica and other Caribbean countries were receiving oil from Venezuela under the PetroCaribe arrangement, but supplies from that country have been declining because of the instability there.
Last April, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kamina Johnson Smith, said the programme remained in place but that Jamaica has been receiving significantly fewer barrels of oil per day.
She said Jamaica's quota of 23,000 barrels per day had significantly declined to about 1,300 barrels.
In September, Petrojam refused to divulge the level of imports under PetroCaribe, suggesting that enquiries be submitted under the Access to Information Act.
In the meantime, Holness said Jamaica and the US both agree that dialogue between the government and opposition in Venezuela is essential to restoring order in the South American country.
He insisted that the government’s position on the Venezuelan issue is not being influenced by the United States.