The first Joint Select Committee Meeting on the Tobacco Control Act, 2020 was convened on Wednesday, February 24 by Health and Wellness Minister Dr the Hon. Christopher Tufton.
The 12-member committee, with representation from houses of the parliament, is to review the Bill that was tabled on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 in the House of Representatives. The committee will also invite comments and presentations from all stakeholders including members of the public and will assess the impact of the bill on the society once approved and brought into effect.
In his opening statement, the Minister made recommendations that were accepted by the members. The Minister proposed that the committee will meet at least twice per month. The first two of these meetings will facilitate a breakdown of the critical areas of the bill by Attorney Albert Edwards. The Minister also proposed that notice be served to the public at least 2-3 weeks in advance to allow for persons to make submissions, and stimulate public participation. It was also noted that the committee will also write to key agencies explaining the proceedings of the Committee and also allow for those entities to make submissions in advance, and thereafter be invited to be a part of the discussion.
The Tobacco Control Bill, drafted by the Jamaican Government in 2020, once passed, will provide a comprehensive legislation that restrict all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. The Bill seeks to strengthen the government’s ability to protect the health of Jamaicans, ensure citizens have all the relevant information to make decisions and reduce citizen’s exposure to second hand smoke.
It will also protect people from inducements to use tobacco products, protect children and promote dissemination of information about the addictive effects of tobacco use.
The new bill is also intended to address gaps in the current legal framework and will make Jamaica fully compliant with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework on Tobacco Control.
Members of the Committee are Attorney General Marlene Malahoo-Forte, QC, JP, MP; Morland Wilson, MP; Kerensia Morrison, MP; Krystal Lee, MP; Dr. Morais Guy, MP; Denise Daley, MP; Senator Kavan Gayle; Senator Dr. Saphire Longmore; Senator Sherene Golding Campbell; Senator Janice Allen; and Senator Gabriela Morris.
Technical support for this committee will be provided by representatives of the Legislative Council of the Houses of Parliament, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Solicitor General and the Prime Minister’s Office.