Energy Ministry Orders 17 Gas Stations to Close Pumps

Photo: Dave Reid Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell (centre), in discussion with President of the Jamaica Gasolene Retailers Association, Leonard Green (right), during a press conference at the Minister’s New Kingston office on December 29, to provide information on the results of petrol samples that were taken from service stations across the island. Looking on is State Minister in the Ministry, Hon. Julian Robinson.

Story Highlights

  • Action to safeguard consumers against petroleum industry players, who wittingly or unwittingly sell contaminated fuel products, is being taken by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining.
  • Following the taking of samples of contaminated grades E10 90 and E10 87 fuel from service stations across the island between December 22-24, the 17 stations that have been discovered to possess the contaminant known as gum, have been ordered to close their pumps.
  • He was speaking at a press conference on December 29, at his New Kingston office, to provide information on the results of petrol samples that were taken from service stations across the island.

Action to safeguard consumers against petroleum industry players, who wittingly or unwittingly sell contaminated fuel products, is being taken by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining.

Following the taking of samples of contaminated grades  E10 90 and E10 87 fuel from service stations across the island between December 22-24,  the 17 stations that have been discovered to possess the contaminant known as gum, have been ordered to close their pumps.

“We are going to ensure we stop it…In instances, I will revoke permits. We are about to implement 100 per cent testing of all fuel imports coming into Jamaica,” said portfolio Minister with responsibility for energy, Hon. Phillip Paulwell.

He was speaking at a press conference on December 29, at his New Kingston office, to provide information on the results of petrol samples that were taken from service stations across the island.

Mr. Paulwell said other measures to be taken by the Ministry will involve the institutionalization of the monitoring, and auditing of the petroleum trade.

“Going forward, we are going to require that every single person, who comes in contact with this trade, be required to keep proper accounting information that will be subject to auditing, so that we can trace the product from importation or delivery at the loading rack to the market,” informed the Minister.

Substantial legislative changes are also in the offing and will extend to include significant increases in general fines and imprisonment of offenders.

“Cabinet had approved drafting instructions for the law to be modified (nine months ago). What we are doing now is to complete the process and add new features. We are increasing the applicability of the Act to the now nine stakeholders,” said the Minister.

“Mandatory inspections of service stations at the issuing of licences and at intervals thereafter are also scheduled to take place. Marketing companies will also be required to submit reports on the movement of each tanker truck utilized to haul petroleum products,” Mr. Paulwell added.

The results of the petrol samples are to be handed over to the Major Organised and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA), which will lead further investigations into the matter.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Professor Winston Davidson, said the taking of samples was done exclusively by scientists from the BSJ and that there was no collusion with Petrojam Limited.

“Every sample was coded, so nobody in Petrojam was able to tell where these samples came from. A member of our scientific community was there while the tests were carried out until the end and we took those results to the Bureau,” he said.

Dr. Davidson assured that most service stations have been sampled and are to be taken back to the laboratory of the BSJ.

“Our sampling is now islandwide and we should be ready with the results in short order,” he said.

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