Commerce Ministry Working to Close Illegal Gas Stations


Minister of Commerce, Science and Technology, Phillip Paulwell has said that the sale of illegal petrol by unauthorised stations was a matter of serious concern for his Ministry and measures were being taken to curtail the problem.
Speaking at the official opening of the Total Jamaica gas station on Friday, (October 15) at National Heroes Circle, the Minister informed that, “in a bid to address the problem of illegal petroleum trading, in January 2001, two safety inspectors were employed and by January 2002, an additional two inspectors were brought on board, but the task still remains a mammoth one”.
Indicating that it was the responsibility of the Commerce Ministry to regulate the petroleum industry, in addition to addressing the problem of product quality, Minister Paulwell said, “although various issues facing the industry have been addressed through the Petroleum Quality Control Act, which was amended in July 2001, the problem of illegal fuel trade has never been fully brought under control.”
He called for cooperation from gas suppliers, dealers and consumers to help stem the problem, pointing out that only by way of a collaborative approach, could success be achieved in eradicating the “dangerous and illegal practice.”
Minister Paulwell noted that these illegally operated stations were unsafe, as they did not have quality control practices. “In fact, over the last five years, there has been approximately 19 reported petroleum related accidents, many of these resulted from illegal filling stations and this resulted in the loss of property and even loss of life in some instances,” he stated.
At present, the Commerce, Science and Technology Ministry is exploring regulations to empower safety inspectors to order the closure of illegal outlets, but there is no formal framework yet in place, to authorise such a clamp down.
According to Minister Paulwell it was estimated that there was in excess of 100 illegal gas stations operating in Kingston and St. Andrew alone.

JIS Social