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Energy minister appoints committee to review petrol trade

Published:Monday | January 4, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Phillip Paulwell Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining.

Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell has appointed a private sector-led committee to undertake a comprehensive review of the petroleum trade in Jamaica and make recommendations to protect the integrity of the trade.

The committee is mandated to examine and review the protocols and regulations governing the trade, act as an impartial arbiter in the investigations being undertaken to identify the source, nature and susceptibility of the locally distributed petrol to contamination and illegal activity.

The committee to be chaired by engineer and business executive Noel DaCosta, with membership comprising Howard Hamilton; president, Jamaica Manufacturers Association, Metry Seaga; Dolcie Allen, chief executive officer, Consumer Affairs Commission; Leonard Green, president, Jamaica Gasolene Retailers Association; and Kent LaCrois, president, New Car Dealers Association of Jamaica.

The committee will provide the minister with its first report within 30 days.

Meanwhile the minister has disclosed that as advised by legal counsel, the names of petrol stations and suppliers implicated in the substandard petrol investigations will remain classified.

"The investigations are ongoing and as a responsible minister of government it would be unwise for me to make statements before the completion of due process and in a manner that would negatively impact the trade and the businesses of law-abiding players in the industry," he emphasised.


Rigorous scrutiny


Meanwhile, the Bureau of Standards has advised that it will maintain its close and rigorous scrutiny of the entire chain of activity in the distribution and trade and enforce measures designed to maintain optimum standards.

This comes in the wake of countless complaints from motorists from across the island that their vehicles were being affected by poor quality gasoline being sold at several gas stations in the past few weeks. Paulwell had called for an immediate investigation, which led to the order for 17 gas stations to be closed after tests revealed that they were dispensing poor quality gasolene.

Calls came in from several quarters for the gas stations to be named, but Paulwell declined to do so.

The Jamaica Gasolene Retailers Association has been calling on the government to urgently implement tighter regulations to govern the petroleum trade.