Dr Andrew Wheatley, Jamaica's Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, informed the House of Representatives that Jamaica is being adversely affected due to U.S.-imposed sanctions against Venezuela. According to the government minister, the sanctions, which were issued in August via executive order 13808, payments to and from Petrojam, Jamaica's sole petroleum refinery, which is jointly owned by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, PCJ, and Venezuela's PDV Caribe, have been subjected to increased due diligence by primary financiers and suppliers of lines of credit, Jamaica Observer reported.
Wheatley informed that, in addition to disruptions and delays in Petrojam transactions, Jamaican debt payments under the 2001 Caracas agreement, and various other loan agreements which were due and payable to the Venezuelan government, were withheld by the US Federal Reserve Bank, and others, in order to facilitate their own due diligence process, according to the Jamaica Observer.
“Although those funds were ultimately released, explanations and proof of business transactions have now become the standard requirement for all transactions by the banks, occasioning significant process delays,” he said.
Wheatley went on to note that Jamaica's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, has convened with the US Assistant Secretary of State in mid-September to seek a resolution to the problem.
Having made clear that Petrojam is not controlled or owned by the Venezuelan government, Jamaican authorities argue that long-term agreements preceding the U.S. executive order should be exempt from the sanctions.
Despite this fact, Wheatley says Jamaican oil payments continue to be affected by increased due diligence implemented by the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control, an entity linked to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.