Persons who Breach Petroleum Industry Laws to Face Harsh Penalties

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, addresses a sitting of the House of Representatives on October 25.

Story Highlights

  • Persons who breach the country’s laws pertaining to the petroleum industry will soon face harsher penalties and increased fines.
  • The Minister was providing an update on the explosion at an unlicensed LPG filling plant on Jacques Avenue in Kingston, recently.
  • The explosion on Jacques Avenue resulted in the deaths of three persons, while two other persons sustained third-degree burns. In addition, several families were displaced.

Persons who breach the country’s laws pertaining to the petroleum industry will soon face harsher penalties and increased fines.

Speaking at yesterday’s (October 25) sitting of the House of Representatives, Minister of Energy, Science and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, said the country’s Petroleum Act will be amended to effect these changes.

“The new set of regulations that are coming will strengthen the sector and will empower the relevant authorities,” he said.

The Minister was providing an update on the explosion at an unlicensed LPG filling plant on Jacques Avenue in Kingston, recently.

He further said the Petroleum Inspectorate that is being established will have an investigative function, as well, that will work with the police to clamp down on these illegal activities.

The Petroleum Inspectorate will fall under the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology and will regulate, oversee and monitor the petroleum sector.

Dr. Wheatley urged Jamaicans to be vigilant and to report these illegal petroleum activities to prevent unnecessary loss of life and property in the future.

The explosion on Jacques Avenue resulted in the deaths of three persons, while two other persons sustained third-degree burns. In addition, several families were displaced.

“I urge the public to cooperate with the police as they carry out their investigations and for them to recognise that by not telling what they know, they are endangering their lives and those in the surrounding communities,” he said.

The Minister noted that while investigations are still ongoing, the tragedy could have been avoided had the illegal operators complied with the safety requirements necessary to receive a licence.

Member of Parliament for the area (St. Andrew South Eastern), Julian Robinson, said that additional resources are needed to police the illegal activities, which are not confined to one specific community.

He informed that Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, and Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Shahine Robinson have committed to assist with expenses.

“There is a need for immediate housing for the persons who have been displaced and assistance with funeral expenses for the three persons who died,” he said.
The explosion, which destroyed and damaged a three-bedroom house, car, truck and motorbike, has been estimated at $38 million.

JIS Social