Forestry Department launches regulations for sawmills

Persons who operate sawmills or trade in or store locally produced lumber will now be required to be licenced by the Forestry Department. This requirement was announced at the launch of the sawmill licensing programme held at the Hotel Four Seasons on Wednesday, September 10. 

This initiative forms part of a move by the Forestry Department to regulate the local sawmilling industry. 

Dr. Alwin Hales, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, who represented the Honourable Robert Pickersgill at the launch said “…the Agency will be better able to monitor the logging operations currently taking place in Jamaica’s forest areas. Under the licensing system, persons who intend to operate a sawmill must get a licence from the Forestry Department. This licence runs in accordance with the calendar year (commencing January 2015) and is required whether the source of the lumber is from private or public lands.”  
He added, “the applicable fee is $15,000 and I am reinforcing the point that the licence once granted is valid for one calendar year after which it must be renewed.”

Dr. Hales also noted that commencing January 2015, persons who operate without a licence will be liable for prosecution and could be fined up to $50,000 or in default of payment could be imprisoned for up to one year. He also announced that the Agency has instituted a moratorium period on licencing fees for persons who wish to secure licences for the remainder of the 2014 calendar year.  

The Forestry Department will be using the process to collect data that will be used to build up a Register of functioning sawmills. This information is expected to better aid the Agency in the management and regulation the industry. “The aim of this programme is not only to allow the Agency to garner information on how many sawmills are being operated in Jamaica, but also provide a clearer picture as to the species that are being requested by the market, as well as the volume of locally grown hard and soft woods that is demanded by the public,” said Keith Porter, Principal Director of Forest Operations in delivering remarks on behalf of the CEO & Conservator of Forests.

He added that individuals who have a power or manual saws for personal use such as pruning trees on their property will not require a licence to do this activity, unless they intend to use the saw for commercial purposes. 

Learn more here

For more information contact: 
Public Relations & Corporate Communications Branch