Wed | Jun 26, 2019

Keeping you in the know

Published:Wednesday | February 6, 2019 | 6:51 AM
Ruel Reid,  minister of education, addresses the post-Cabinet meeting.
Ruel Reid, minister of education, addresses the post-Cabinet meeting.

Cabinet has approved the following legislation for tabling in Parliament:

1. The Bauxite Alumina Industries Encouragement (Amendment Act) 2019.

This bill seeks to:

i. Grant the bauxite sector duty concession on oil from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2023;

ii. Authorise the minister to grant, by order, a new relevant concession period subject to affirmative resolution in the House of Representatives, where the period for so doing had expired; and

iii. Give retrospective effect to an order made under section 7 (two) of the Act.

2. The Law Reform (Amendment of Penalties ) Act 2019

a. The bill seeks to introduce provisions to amend several acts under the portfolio of the Minister of Justice in order to increase outdated penalties and empower the minister to amend penalties where necessary by order, subject to affirmative resolution.

3: Signature of Sponsorship Agreement between the Government of Jamaica and Blue Minerals Ltd

Cabinet has agreed for Jamaica to act as sponsoring state for a locally incorporated subsidiary of Blue Minerals Ltd. This is in relation to its application to the International Seabed Authority (ISA) for a contract to explore polymetallic nodules in the deep seabed and subsoil, beyond national jurisdiction and the terms set out in the draft sponsorship agreement between the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and Blue Minerals. Cabinet was advised of Jamaica’s prominent role in the development of the regime to govern the exploitation of mineral resources in the deep seabed – a decision in 1981 by the UN General Assembly to host the headquarters of the ISA in Jamaica, which was established under part XI of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and aimed at regulating and managing deep seabed mining on behalf of all humankind.

Cabinet also took note of the following:

a)The rationale for deep seabed mining which included the demand for global electrification, and the expected growth in electric vehicles and infrastructure to be able to meet future demand.

b) With agreement for sponsorship, Blue Minerals would acquire 75,000Km2 Reserved Licence Area in international waters in the Pacific Ocean; conduct exploration in the area for achieving proof of resources nodules; acquire deep seabed mining equipment, build organisation and start mining activities (nodules collections); and generate revenue and taxable profits for Jamaica;

c) The rationale for Jamaica being involved in deep seabed mining;

d) Blue Minerals was a 100 per cent Jamaican company that would own all mineral rights, all geological data and all revenue;

e) Blue Mineral was regulated by ISA Regulation, the Companies Act, Blue Minerals Jamaica and the sponsorship agreement;

f) The cost and benefits of Jamaica being involved in deep seabed mining;

g) The World Economic Forum Meeting of January 22-25-2019;

h) Globally deep seabed mining was attracting enormous attention and Jamaica as a sponsoring state would join other countries such as France Japan and Germany;

i) Jamaicans would be provided with the opportunity to attend seminars and workshops overseas to be educated in the protection and preservation of the marine environment;

j) The exercise would be of no cost to the Government of Jamaica and investors would absorb all the costs;

k) The contract with Blue Minerals would give Jamaica a means through which direct benefits could be derived;

l) Once becoming a sponsoring state, Jamaica would have an exclusive area in the open seas.

Annual reports

Cabinet approved the tabling of the following reports in House of representatives :

• Broadcasting Commission 2017/18

• Rural Water Supply 2016/17

Award of Contracts

Port Royal Cruise ship terminal development

Cabinet has approved the award of a contract to Orion Marine Construction for award of a direct contract in the sum of USD7,536,990.00 to undertake the following:

Construction of seawalk foundation, the storage pile, shore mooring dolphin and timber deck access trestle for the Port Royal cruise ship terminal development.

Closed User Group Solution

Cabinet approved the award of a contract to Cable and Wireless Ltd in the sum of $69,688,201.08 for the delivery of CUG services to the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and some of its affiliated agencies:

Planning Institute of Jamaica, Tax Administration Jamaica, Accountant General’s Department and Office of the Services Commission.

Greater Black River water supply – Luana Well Station to Middle Quarters Square mains replacement.

Surrey Paving and Aggregate Company Ltd has been approved for the award of a contract in the sum of $65,527 665.00 from the NWC for the Luana Well Station to Middle Quarters main replacement in St Elizabeth.

Manufacture and Delivery of boots and shoes to the JCF

Broncho Boot Factory in Greendale, St Catherine, has been approved for award of a contract in the sum of $75,591,025.00 for delivery and manufacture of 8,400 pairs of duty boots and shoes to be issued to members of the JCF.

Beach Park development

Cabinet approved the award of a contract by the UDC for the implementation of a Closed Harbour Beach Park Development Project in keeping with the endorsement of the NCC to M&M Construction Ltd in the sum of $1,296,158,870.64.