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PDV Caribe hires attorney Michael Hylton

Published:Wednesday | May 15, 2019 | 12:28 AMAvia Collinder/Business Reporter
Michael Hylton
Michael Hylton

PDV Caribe SA, a subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the Venezuelan firm that up to recently held a 49 per cent stake in Jamaica’s state-owned oil refinery, Petrojam, has selected legal luminary Michael Hylton, QC, to represent it.

Petrojam is jointly owned by the government of Venezuela and the Government of Jamaica (GOJ), with GOJ shares held by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ).

PDV Caribe is reportedly protesting the forcible acquisition of its shares by Jamaica after the GOJ failed in negotiations to purchase the Venezuelan company’s shareholding.

However, the attorney would not be drawn on his strategy.

“I confirm that I represent PDV Caribe. I have no further comment at this time,” he told The Gleaner.

Earlier this year, the Holness administration signalled that it would engineer the compulsory acquisition of Venezuela’s stake in Petrojam, committing to put the funds in an escrow account in a bid to escape United States sanctions.

In February, Jamaican lawmakers voted to approve the legislation.

It was said then that ownership of Venezuela’s 49 per cent stake in Petrojam would immediately be vested in Jamaica’s accountant general, “free of all encumbrances”, and held in trust for the Government. The other 51 per cent was already held by the GOJ.

In January, head of PDV Caribe, Marcus Alejandro Rojas Marchena, said in a letter to the GOJ that it had received an offer of US$100 million from A&A Lime Hall Development Limited, a company in Montego Bay, St James.

In a letter dated January 4, 2019, addressed to chairman of Petrojam, Russell Hadeed, and the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, Marchena encouraged the GOJ to match the offer for its stake in Petrojam Limited.

The Government’s response was to table the bill for expropriation.

Hylton was appointed chairman of the General Legal Council in December 2010.

Admitted to practice in 1976, he spent 24 years at Myers, Fletcher & Gordon before being appointed Solicitor General of Jamaica in January 2001. He returned to private practice in 2007.