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Plastic/styrofoam ban is no knee jerk reaction, says Vaz

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz, is rejecting as “false and without basis”, a claim by Chairman of the WISYNCO Group, William Mahfood, that the Government's decision to ban plastic bags and styrofoam containers “is a knee jerk reaction which will not work”.

Mahfood made the statement yesterday in response to the Government's announcement of a ban on the importation, manufacture and distribution of three types of plastic products effective January 1, 2019.

But according to Vaz, the suggestion that the Government has taken a “knee jerk” decision could not be further from the truth. The minister, in a statement this afternoon, said extensive consultations were held, following the private members motion, which was raised in the Senate in October 2016 by Government Senator, Matthew Samuda.

He said it has been almost three years since stakeholders were aware of the direction in which the Government was heading.

Vaz explained that the motion went to Cabinet and a public/private sector working group was set up in January 2017 to deliberate on the issue.

The working group is said to have included several Government agencies, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, the Jamaica Manufacturers and Employers Association, and the Parliamentary Opposition.

Vaz said it is of note that representatives of WISYNCO were among stakeholders who made submissions to the working group, and the company submitted an extensive document, which outlined its feedback to the proposed ban on polystyrene foam.

The statement outlined that following the submission of the working group's report , the Cabinet asked for further consultations to be held. These were done specifically with stakeholders, with many of these consultations actually being chaired by the minister over the last 12 months. Vaz added that in 2016 when Government's intention was made clear, some companies requested a five year delay in the implementation of the ban but this was regarded as too long.

He said that last week a few companies again requested a five year extension before the ban is put into effect but this suggestion could not be countenanced given the aforementioned context and the notice given.

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