Thu | Jun 20, 2019

Let us talk! - Stakeholder wants discussions regarding possible alcohol sponsorship regulations

Published:Sunday | February 17, 2019 | 12:08 AM
Dianne Ashton-Smith

After Governor General Sir Patrick Allen’s Throne Speech in Parliament on Thursday, where it was said that the Government is considering laws to regulate sponsorship from alcohol brands, one stakeholder is concerned about what it may mean for her brand.

The proposed law follows a ban on the public consumption of cigarettes and its marketing and is expected to be similar in nature.

“The main objectives of the policy will be to regulate the advertising, promotion and sponsorship of alcoholic products, strengthen the health response to the harmful use, reduce road traffic accidents as a result of the use of alcohol, and to monitor and evaluate the public-health surveillance measures,” the governor general said in Parliament on Thursday.

The Red Stripe Premier League is one of Jamaica’s most popular football competitions, and such a law coming into place may affect it as the title sponsor is beer brand Red Stripe, whose partnership with the organisers of the tournament has helped in its marketing.

Red Stripe’s head of corporate affairs, Dianne Ashton-Smith, said that she hopes some discussion takes place with all stakeholders, before further steps are taken to enforce a law.

“We haven’t had occasion to see the actual policy, but what we are hoping for from the Government is that there is industry engagement as it relates to the crafting of this policy,” she said. “So we don’t know what’s in it. We have no idea. They have made indications, but what we would hope from the Government is that there is some further engagement and inclusion with what we call ‘economic operators,’ as is prescribed by the WHO (World Health Organization) guidelines.”

SERIOUS HEALTH BURDEN

The WHO guidelines that Ashton-Smith speaks about say that the use of alcohol, which it describes as harmful, is a “serious health burden,” and it affects virtually all individuals on an international scale.

“Health problems from dangerous alcohol use arise in the form of acute and chronic conditions, and adverse social consequences are common when they are associated with alcohol consumption,” WHO said. “Every year, the harmful use of alcohol kills 2.5 million people, including 320,000 young people between 15 and 29 years of age.”

Premier League Clubs Association chairman, Edward Seaga, however, said that he is not worried about implications such a potential legislation may have on the league, especially as its players are aware of the effects of alcoholic consumption on athletes.