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State Minister for Transport and Works, Joseph Hibbert is urging strict adherence to the regulations governing the usage of explosives in Jamaica.
He is also lobbying the support of the umbrella organization representing explosives engineering professionals – the Jamaica Association of Explosives Engineering Professionals (JAEEP) – to safeguard the industry.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day JAEEP workshop at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on June 27, Mr. Hibbert said that stipulations and guidelines outlined in the relevant Regulations were specific in addressing the manufacture, security and transportation of, and attendant safety issues regarding explosives.
“This piece of legislation requires that it (an explosive) should be handled only by persons who have the competence, (and) the adequate knowledge of the dangers that are involved,” the State Minister explained.
He said dynamite had been used in the fishing industry, and pointed to the devastating effect which this has had on the environment. This, he said, had raised questions about the legitimacy and legality of its usage and by the users, whom it was discovered, were not licensed to use it.
“Therefore, you’ll find that, more and more, those of us who have responsibility for explosives are (being) called upon to make sure that we protect the industry we are involved in. You are a unique (and) special group (and) this particular association, if it does its work well, will be the group that the Ministry will be relying on to guard and safeguard the industry,” the State Minister stressed.
Mr. Hibbert gave an undertaking to hold discussions with the JAEEP executive on the matter, and urged the organization to keep the Ministry up-to-date on issues pertaining to their members and activities.
“My responsibility is for the national roads. and there are times when we (Ministry) have to rely on you to get the work going. I want to be able to say that I can rely on persons with whom I have every confidence that the work they do will be done safely and to the benefit of the nation,” the State Minister said.