Dionne Rose, Staff Reporter
The Jamaica Manufacturers Association (JMA) has levelled harsh criticism at the actions of CARICOM partner Trinidad and Tobago who reneged on an agreement to supply Jamaica with liquefied natural gas (LNG).
President of the JMA, Doreen Frankson, yesterday described the action by the oil-rich twin-island republic as a betrayal of trust.
“Jamaica would never have given a commitment for something and then not deliver it. We have never done that,” she told The Gleaner minutes after delivering greetings at a Mass held at the Stella Maris (Roman Catholic) Church in St. Andrew to mark the JMA’s 60th anniversary.
Ms. Frankson argued that over the years, Jamaica has been extending itself “beyond the call of duty” to make the partnership work, but that other CARICOM partners such as Trinidad and Tobago had not been doing so.
“Not all our CARICOM partners will extend similar courtesies to us,” she said. “We have resolved not to repeat history but to change its course by ensuring that we are not shackled by these agreements.”
She pointed out that the time has come for Jamaica to benefit from these agreements.
“Isn’t that why wenegotiate trade agreements – to make our people better?” she asked. “Not for one-way trade.”
In 2004, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the supply of 1.1 million tonnes of LNG for use by the Jamaican Aluminium Company Jamalco and the Jamaica Public Service Company power plants.
But recently, the agreement fell through after Trinidad and Tobago said they had none to spare. Just last week, the Government signed an agreement with Venezuela to establish an LNG plant to supply more than two million tonnes of LNG to Jamaica.
Reservations were raised, however, by president of the Natural Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago, Frank Look Kim, about the Venezuelans’ ability to meet the 2009 date.
Minister of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce, Phillip Paulwell, dismissed this, and insisted that the Venezuelans would honour the agreement in the time specified.
Yesterday, Frankson expressed confidence that the Venezuelans would also deliver as promised.
“Venezuela has always been a good friend of Jamaica and yes, they will deliver,” she said with confidence.