Jamaican drivers to get compensation for being sold tainted fuel

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Fayval Williams

KINGSTON, Jamaica – A refund of J$24.5 million (US$ 181,912) is to be given to consumers who have been verified as having suffered material damage from contaminated petrol sold in 2015.

The compensation to motorists is based on recommendations provided by the Petroleum Trade Reform Committee (PTRC), according to Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Fayval Williams who said she has written a letter to the chairman of state-owned oil refinery Petrojam supporting the recommendation.

“These consumers would have submitted genuine claims with supporting documents within the specified deadline and have been waiting for almost three years for redress,” Williams said.

She said the J$24.5 million (US$ 181,912) figure was arrived at by the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC), based on the claims submitted by 381 motorists. The CAC had received a total of 478 complaints.

The PTRC was appointed on January 8, 2016 with a mandate to undertake a comprehensive review of the regulations and protocols governing the petroleum trade in Jamaica as well as a thorough investigation into the alleged contaminated petrol.

Williams noted that the Bureau of Standards Jamaica was engaged by the Committee to perform bulk fuel testing at storage facilities and to test unburnt fuel from the tanks of affected motor vehicles.

“The final report indicates that the Committee was not led by any of the aforementioned investigations to any definitive conclusion with respect to a specific contaminant in the product supplied during the period November 2015 to March 2016,” Minister Williams said.

She added that the report offers numerous recommendations that call for legislative and non-legislative amendments to be made.

Among the recommendations are: clarification of the roles and responsibilities of the various government entities involved in the petroleum sector; and the inclusion of occupational health and safety provisions in the regulations that will be promulgated pursuant to the Petroleum (Quality Control) Act, to ensure proper working conditions for petroleum sector workers.

In addition, the Committee recommended the re-establishment of a Petroleum Inspectorate as a department under the MSET to regulate, oversee and monitor the petroleum sector.

It also recommended that each shipment of petroleum imported into Jamaica will be required to be tested by the importer and verified by the Bureau of Standards Jamaica to ensure conformance with Schedule 2 of the Petroleum (Quality Control) Regulations.