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Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right) and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a meeting at Jamaica House on Sunday. (Photo: Jamaica Observer)

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tuesday May 24, 2016 – Venezuela and Jamaica have signed agreements on trade, energy and culture, following high-level deliberations on Sunday between Prime Minister Andrew Holness and President Nicolás Maduro.

During Maduro’s one-day trip, Holness said the two countries agreed to improve trade relations, especially through arrangements under the PetroCaribe Agreement – an initiative that will be led by Minister of Finance and Public Service Audley Shaw.

The Jamaican leader said there was also an expedited agreement on the refinery upgrade project; a decision to strengthen cultural ties, particularly through cooperation with Venezuela’s El Sistema, a world renowned youth orchestra and system of training youth in music.

“We look forward to the continued cooperation and collaboration between our countries, and reiterate our appreciation to Venezuela for their generosity over the years,” Holness said.

The prime minister said the meeting was an indication of the strong ties of history, friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

President Maduro last visited Jamaica in September 2015, for the Summit to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the PetroCaribe Agreement.

It was also the 200th anniversary of the Jamaica Letter, written by the Great Liberator Simon Bolivar in Kingston on 6th September 1815. On that visit, President Maduro opened the Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre in downtown Kingston.

Venezuela to buy food from Trinidad; Trinidad to buy Venezuela gas


Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley (left) greets Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro ahead of their bilateral discussions yesterday. Venezuela’s First Lady, Cilia Flores, is in the background.


PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Tuesday May 24, 2016 – Venezuela will buy US$50 million in goods from Trinidad and Tobago to help ease the food shortages facing the South American nation. And the twin-island republic has agreed to purchase natural gas from Venezuela.

Those were among the agreements reached when the leaders of the two countries held bilateral talks at the Diplomatic Centre, as anti-Nicolás Maduro protesters gathered outside yesterday.

“We have already established the contacts and very soon, through a revolving fund with US$50 million, we will be able to strengthen the flow of trade between Trinidad and the eastern part of Venezuela,” Maduro said after the talks with Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, who said the country looked forward to providing “some significant relief to the people of Venezuela”.

Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon later added that her ministry had forwarded a list of all goods manufactured in Trinidad and Tobago to Venezuela, for a decision to be made on which items to send to the country.

Chicken, butter, ketchup, rice and black beans have already been identified as some of the items in which Venezuela is interested. Gopee-Scoon revealed that a proposal to exchange petroleum for oil did not materialize. However, Energy Minister Nicole Olivierre said the administration has agreed to purchase natural gas from Venezuela to meet a shortfall in the supply to the local market.

During their talks, Maduro and Rowley agreed to discuss the repatriation of five Trinidadian nationals in Venezuela who have been imprisoned in that country for the past two years on suspicion of terrorism. They were among a group of 25 people detained in March 2014 as they tried to process visa applications for a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon will go to Venezuela on May 30 to discuss that matter, as well as the flow of illegal drugs and guns into the twin-island republic.

Rowley also disclosed that he and Maduro had agreed that their security services would meet as a matter of urgency to re-establish the joint security operation coordinating committee.

While both leaders hailed their talks as fruitful, dozens of Venezuelans living in the country gathered outside the Diplomatic Centre for an anti-Maduro demonstration. Carrying placards and beating pots and pans, they called for a referendum in Venezuela and lobbying for the release of the Trinidadians detained in Venezuela.
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