Sun | Oct 24, 2021

Tobacco scholarships could go up in smoke

Published:Thursday | July 1, 2021 | 12:12 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Parliamentary Reporter
A pedestrian passes the Ripon Road, New Kingston, headquarters of Carreras on Wednesday. The cigarette distributor warns that draft tobacco legislation could imperil the gifting of scores of scholarships it issues annually.
A pedestrian passes the Ripon Road, New Kingston, headquarters of Carreras on Wednesday. The cigarette distributor warns that draft tobacco legislation could imperil the gifting of scores of scholarships it issues annually.

The annual scholarships provided by Carreras Limited to scores of Jamaicans may soon come to a halt if the Tobacco Control Act, 2020, is passed in its current form.

Managing director of the company, Raoul Glynn, said that provisions in the proposed tobacco legislation would outlaw the awarding of scholarships by Carreras to Jamaicans.

Making a presentation on Wednesday to a joint select committee examining the draft law, Glynn said that the bill introduces a ban on sponsorship. He said it also prohibits acceptance of any sponsorship contribution.

As a “responsible corporate citizen”, Carreras said it was proud of the initiatives it has rolled out over the past 60 years.

The company said it has awarded 125 tertiary scholarships valued at $30 million in the past three years. It said that the scholarships have been distributed across all parishes in multiple disciplines, including the creative arts, sciences, business, and agriculture.

In the last eight years, the company has issued $250 million in scholarships.

“We really would like to continue because the need is very great. We have many requests from different entities within the constituencies of people who just need food, just need a little bit of help, and we fulfil that as much as we can by allocating through the wholesalers, through the MPs,” Glynn told the committee.

The managing director said that the company wanted to continue its philanthropic initiatives but would not be able to do this based on provisions in the proposed tobacco legislation.

The Carreras boss said that a scholarship recipient led an anti-smoking initiative in a school.

“It’s unique because she was particularly bright and particularly in need. You don’t have to be an advocate of consumption in order to benefit from this scholarship programme,” he said.

“... This is not done with any branding or even fanfare. This is purely about meeting the needs of so many incredibly bright adults with the only thing they are missing: the financial means to advance their lives and their families.”

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com