Gov’t Seeking Waiver Related to Sanctions on UC Rusal

Photo: Adrian Walker Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague, delivers a statement to the House of Representatives on June 5.

Story Highlights

  • The Government is to intensify discussions with the United States Treasury Department to secure a waiver for Jamaica as the Administration moves to address any fallout from United States (US) sanctions against UC Rusal.
  • “The talks are progressing favourably, but we cannot offer any guarantees at this time,” said Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague, during a statement to the House of Representatives on June 5.
  • The sanctions, which were announced by the US in April, will affect operations at the Windalco Plant in Ewarton.

The Government is to intensify discussions with the United States Treasury Department to secure a waiver for Jamaica as the Administration moves to address any fallout from United States (US) sanctions against UC Rusal.

“The talks are progressing favourably, but we cannot offer any guarantees at this time,” said Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague, during a statement to the House of Representatives on June 5.

The sanctions, which were announced by the US in April, will affect operations at the Windalco Plant in Ewarton.

While the US Treasury Department recently announced a delay in the application of the sanctions, it is yet to provide a full brief on the extent to which UC Rusal has complied.

Mr. Montague informed that the Government will employ its best efforts to ensure that Windalco can access critical supplies including fuel, power, chemicals and other items.

“Best efforts will also be made to engage and ensure the banking sector’s support. We have also taken steps to assure the banking sector on any issue or fears, based on information,” he told the House.

He said that the Ministry is working with Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) and the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, among other stakeholders in order to be prepared for any contingencies.

“We are well aware of the sensitivity of the matter, and I assure you that this Government remains committed to protecting the interests of the Jamaican people. As we continue to monitor this dynamic situation, we will continue to provide updates to the House. We must remember to remain calm, and keep the lines of communication open,” Mr. Montague said.

He urged that as the Government works towards a sustainable solution, “no one needs to ‘cry wolf’ or seek to take any advantage of this unfortunate situation. This Government remains committed to applying our best efforts to protect the interests of the community and the country. We particularly want to protect the workers, the environment and revenue to Jamaica”.

Mr. Montague stressed that the Government’s main concern is to save the jobs of approximately 1,200 workers at Windalco and the livelihood of a further 10,000 dependents, contractors, residents and business persons in communities neighbouring the alumina plant and related facilities.

On April 6, 2018, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added, amongst others, seven Russian oligarchs and 12 companies they own or control, to its Designated Nationals List (the OFAC Sanctions).

As a result of being named, all assets of the seven persons and entities that are within US jurisdiction have been frozen, and US persons are prohibited from dealings with them.

Additionally, non-US persons could face secondary sanctions for knowingly facilitating significant transactions for, or on behalf of the individuals or entities sanctioned.

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