Petro Guaidó urged the Holness Administration not to take control of Venezuela’s shares in Petrojam. Photo credit Voice of America.

 KINGSTON, Jamaica--The ad-hoc board of Venezuela’s state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), recently appointed by Opposition Leader Juan Guaidó, says it has asked the Jamaican government not to seize the company’s shares in Petrojam, Reuters news agency has reported.

  According to the Reuters report, the board made the request on Saturday and also warned the Andrew Holness Administration that “it cannot maintain any arrangements” with the government of President Nicolás Maduro, whose legitimacy as Venezuela’s leader is disputed.

  “We formally request the suspension of this expropriation process,” Reuters quoted the board as saying in a statement, adding that Guaidó had made a similar request personally to Holness.

  Reuters said neither Holness’s office nor Jamaica’s Foreign Ministry had immediately responded to requests for comment.

  Jamaica owns 51 per cent of shares in the Petrojam refinery. In February, the Senate passed legislation clearing the way for the government to acquire the 49 per cent stake in the refinery that PDVSA acquired in 2006.

  In January, Guaidó, the leader of Venezuela’s Opposition-controlled National Assembly, declared himself interim president, arguing that Maduro’s re-election last year had been “illegitimate”.

  Guaidó has since been recognised by more than 50 countries, including the United States and most of Latin America. But Maduro retains the loyalty of most of the military and important allies such as China and Russia.

  Jamaica is not among the countries that have accepted Guaidó’s authority as interim president of Venezuela, but neither has the government recognised the re-election of Maduro.

  Guaidó’s representatives abroad have fought efforts by creditors of Venezuela’s highly indebted government to seize foreign assets belonging to PDVSA.

  In January the US slapped sanctions on PDVSA as part of its bid to oust Maduro, which has contributed to a further drop in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) nation’s crude output following years of steady decline due to underinvestment and mismanagement. ~ Jamaica Observer ~