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Dennis Minott | Jamaica’s strategic diplomacy: Navigating regional prosperity and the Essequibo dispute

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and Guyanese President Irfaan Ali shake hands as they meet amid tensions over a border dispute, in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines December 14, 2023.

The recent CARICOM-facilitated meeting between Guyana and Venezuela has set the stage for a hopeful resolution to the longstanding Essequibo dispute, injecting a sense of relief across the Caribbean. This diplomatic breakthrough, guided by the sagacious statesmanship of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister, Uncle Ralphie, holds the potential to foster stability and prosperity in the region. Going beyond mere applause for the initial talks, Jamaica must alas play a meaningful role, humbly leveraging its historical ties and strategic positioning. Here, I propose a comprehensive four-pronged approach to actively champion solutions and contribute to a win-win resolution:

Revitalising the Petrojam partnership

Jamaica can transparently negotiate the restoration of ownership in the Petrojam refinery, addressing past grievances and securing essential fossil fuel supplies cheaply. This move not only fosters trust and dignity but also mends relations with Venezuela, considering the expropriation of Petrojam as the “BIIIIG blue whale in the Caribbean lagoon.  Our own Venezuelan neighbors, who generously provided Bolivarian assistance in our times of need… only to be rewarded, as they see it, with perfidy to curry favor with the Trump White House (Español: Jamaica puede negociar de manera transparente la restauración de la propiedad en la refinería Petrojam, abordando quejas pasadas y asegurando suministros esenciales de combustibles fósiles. Esta acción no solo fomenta la confianza y la dignidad, sino que también repara las relaciones con Venezuela, considerando la expropiación de Petrojam como la “ENOOORME ballena azul en la laguna del Caribe. Nuestros vecinos venezolanos que nos brindaron generosa ayuda bolivariana en nuestros momentos de necesidad… para ser recompensados, según ellos ven, con perfidia para congraciarse con la Casa Blanca de Trump.)

Petrojam technicians inspecting machinery at the Kingston-based refinery in Jamaica. (Photo:

Investing in Essequibo’s potential

Recognising the economic potential of the Essequibo region, Jamaica can definitely be in joint ventures with CARICOM nations and Venezuelan-Guyanese-Surinamese entities. Exploring sustainable projects such as eco-tourism, renewable energy, agriculture, animal feeds, and green fertilizers respects Guyana’s sovereignty while fostering economic growth.

Dennis A. Minott.

Rekindling the PetroCaribe flame

A revisited PetroCaribe, adapted to current circumstances, can encourage renewable energy investments and sustainable debt management. Diversifying terms and embracing green technologies, like green hydrogen, ensures mutual benefits for participating Caribbean nations.

Walking the diplomatic tightrope

While respecting Guyana’s commitment to ICJ arbitration, Jamaica can collaborate with neutral facilitators to encourage open communication and confidence-building measures. This diplomatic engagement ensures transparency and fairness throughout the arbitration process, paving the way for a lasting resolution.

Moreover, Jamaica’s active role in these initiatives can:

  • Boost regional solidarity

  • Re-establish Jamaica’s position as a respected and influential player within CARICOM.

  • Solidify economic ties

  • Strengthen economic partnerships, unlock new markets, attract investments, and create jobs for the people of the Caribbean.

  • Promote regional stability

  • Contribute to a more secure and prosperous Caribbean environment by fostering peaceful resolution and cooperation.

Dennis A. Minott.

By the way, Essequibo could provide enough water to purge Jamaica, in regional eyes, of the faithless business of Petrojam expropriation and the appallingly racist apartheid-redolent business featuring our novel ‘skill’ in repeatedly refouling 67+66+65+14… ‘darling’ Haitian refugees delivered in the dead of night, by our security forces’ unquestionable ‘nobility and valour.’

Dennis A Minott, PhD

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