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JAGAS Says Local Skills In Stock For Damaged Vehicle Sector

Published:Saturday | November 1, 2014 | 11:32 PM

supply the skills required by such a sector.

“If that sector is facilitated, there is certainly the skilled set of trained personnel available that can execute the repairs according to manufactures specifications,” said JAGAS deputy manager, Kevin Baxter.

He said an SEZ for car repair/assembly would also stimulate the job market, including the support services around the auto sector.

“It’s going to call on a lot of skill sets to be employed because an assessment of the vehicle will have to be done, so a loss adjuster will be needed,” said Baxter.

“When it gets to repairs, structural repairs will require a particular skill set, and then auto body workmen, such as spray and mechanical workmen, will be needed. So, a number of sectors can converge and benefit,” he said.

JAGAS trains about 50 persons yearly, Baxter said, and it also certifies repairers at their job sites.

Importation of damaged vehicles was suspended 10 years ago for dealers and six years ago for individuals amid concerns that the vehicles were being brought into Jamaica without proper documentation detailing the level of damage, that the vehicles were the cause of accidents, and that buyers often ended up with big repair bills to correct previously undisclosed defects.

Vice-chairman of the National Road Safety Council, Dr Lucien Jones, also shares the concern for public safety were the ban to be lifted.

“Anything that is going to possibly affect the safety on the roads has to be trumped by consideration of safety,” he said.

“If you are going to import vehicles and put them back together here, either for local consumption or export – even though the argument is that we are going to create more jobs – if there is any possibility of our driving public being exposed to substandard vehicles, then we say let us look at it more carefully.”

The BSJ says that agency currently has no written standards to allow for the policing of car repairs, but that it “stands ready as a resource available to the Trade Board” to either draft standards or assist with the adaptation of international standards to the sector.

“I see us being a resource available to do things that are necessary, for example, when there is work to the vehicle we might assess aspects (of the repairs); but it is something that would evolve in that kind of way,” said Junior Gordon, acting director of the BSJ.