No Unfair Advantages With Plastic Ban – Senator Samuda

Government Senator Matthew Samuda says there will be no unfair advantages for manufacturers and distributors under the impending January 1, 2019, single-use plastic ban.

He was speaking at a ‘Consumer Talk’ on the ban, hosted by the National Consumers’ League, in association with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), at the Bureau of Standards recently.

“The plastic ban will be implemented through a ministerial order under the Trade Act of Jamaica. There won’t be unfair advantages for any business group in Jamaica, whether large or small,” he emphasized.

He said that under the Trade Act, plastic bags 24×24 inches, plastic drinking straws, and imported expanded polystyrene would not be allowed for manufacture, distribution and importation by any Jamaican company.

“What the ministerial order will allow the Government to do is reinforce the ban within the business community, rather than target individuals,” he said.

Senator Samuda pointed out that breaches of the plastic ban could result in fines of up to $2 million or imprisonment for a maximum of two years, as outlined in sections 11 and 13 of the Trade Act.

He noted that no tax incentives or concessions would be administered by the Government under the plastic ban.

In 2016, Senator Samuda tabled a motion to ban a range of plastic and expanded polystyrene products. On September 18, minister with responsibility for the environment, Daryl Vaz, announced a ban on single-use plastic effective January 1, 2019. Plastic items under the ban include plastic ‘scandal’ bags 24×24 inches, plastic drinking straws and the importation of expanded polystyrene products.