Two men have been fined
after they were found guilty of operating without a sawmill licence when they
appeared in the Hanover Parish Court, on Tuesday, April 18.
Alrick Grant of a Lucea
address was charged with trading in locally produced lumber without a licence
and Prince Phillips, also of a Lucea address, was charged with storing locally
produced lumber without a licence. Both men have been fined $10,000 each or
will serve ten months imprisonment in default of payment.
Manager at the Forestry Department, Mr. Sean Munroe, says members of the
Agency’s Enforcement Branch conducted a series of joint police operations in
several parishes across the island to follow up on Notices of Contravention
previously served on individuals.
“As a result of these
joint operations individuals were issued final warnings regarding
non-compliance with Sections of the Forest Act and accompanying Regulations
applicable to the operations of sawmills, trading, storing and purchasing
locally produced timber. Consequently, two individuals were brought before the
Hanover Parish Court. The individuals pleaded guilty to breaches of Regulations
25 and were fined,” he said.
Mr. Munroe noted that the
Agency is in the process of bringing additional persons before the courts and
will continue its joint operations with the police across the island in order
to ensure strict compliance with the forest laws. In the meantime he encourages
sawmill operators to get or renew their sawmill licences.
“One of the men who have
been charged has since got his licence so we are saying to the public, if you
are in the sawmill industry, get a licence to operate your sawmill. Do not wait
until you are served a summons to then apply for your licence. Call the
Forestry Department or visit any of our offices across the island to start the
process as we will continue to work with the police to clamp down on illegal
operators.” Mr. Munroe said.
Under the Forest
Regulations, 2001 persons who use
machinery or equipment to saw or cut logs into planks, boards, slabs or any
other form of sawn or cut timber or persons who trade in or store locally
produced lumber must have a licence to conduct these activities. To get the
licence, operators of sawmills must complete an application form and once
approved, pay an annual fee of $15,000. The licence is valid for one calendar
“Any sawmill operator
found to be in breach of the requirement will be liable for prosecution and
could be fined a maximum of $50,000, or in default of payment, could be
sentenced to up to one year in prison,” Mr. Munroe noted.
The Forestry Department
launched the sawmill licensing programme in September 2014 and it is aimed at regulating the island’s sawmilling
industry as well as providing greater protection for the country’s forests.
Application forms for
sawmill licences are available on the Forestry Department’s website, www.forestry.gov.jm, as well as at its Head Office, 173 Constant Spring Road and
all its Zonal and Regional Offices.
For more information,
persons may contact the Agency at 924-2667-8.