House passes Tobacco Industry Regulations (Repeal) Act

THE House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the Tobacco Industry Regulations (Validation and Indemnity) (Repeal) Act 2021.

Piloting the Bill, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Floyd Green said the Bill emerged from a decision of Cabinet in 2019 giving approval for the repeal of the Tobacco Industry Regulations Act and the issuing of drafting instructions to the chief parliamentary counsel.

He noted that the decision of Cabinet is aligned to the Government’s public sector master rationalisation plan, which proposes a reduction of the over 190 public bodies, comprising companies, agencies and statutory bodies, as a critical feature of transforming the public sector.

“The Bill incorporates validation and indemnity provisions, which were necessary in light of the fact that by a previous decision… dated November 21, 1983, the Cabinet had approved to repeal the Act and the divestment of the asset of the Tobacco Industry Control Authority by way of sale to a consortium comprising of the Cigarette Company of Jamaica Limited and all other cigar manufacturers,” Green said.

He noted that, at the time, the Cabinet was advised that the Tobacco Industry Control Authority, when it was operational, was unable to maintain a viable operation and was dependent on budgetary support from the Government.

Green said by a subsequent decision, dated December 2, 1985, the Cabinet gave approval for the redundancy of the employees of the Tobacco Industry Control Authority and the payment of redundancies to such employees from the net proceeds of tobacco stocks, along with the sale of machinery, fixtures and equipment.

“Notwithstanding the decision of Cabinet dated November 21, 1983, and although the operation of the Tobacco Industry Control Authority has ceased, the Act continues to be enforced,” he noted.

Green said the Bill provides for the validation and confirmation of all acts in relation to the winding up of the Tobacco Industry Control Authority, including the divestment of assets, entering into contracts and the payment of redundancies to officers and servants.

The legislation also provides for the indemnification of people against liability arising from carrying out such acts and repealing the Tobacco Industry Regulations Act.

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