Jamaica Gleaner / Minister of Transport and Mining Robert Montague should be in a position to address growing concerns regarding the implications of Jamaica’s engagement with United Company (UC) Rusal, Russian operator of West Indies Alumina Company (WINDALCO), following the imposition of sanctions by the United States, after he is briefed this week.

“Currently, the technocrats in the Ministry of Transport and Mining are carefully assessing the situation to determine the impact, if any, that the sanctions against some top individuals, especially the ownership of UC Rusal would have on the Jamaican operation,” said Vando Palmer, director of communication and public relations at the Ministry.

The United States (US) Department of the Treasury has warned that, “non-US persons could face sanctions for knowingly facilitating significant transactions for or on behalf of the individuals or entities blocked today (April 6)”. Oleg Deripaska, president of UC Rusal is one of seven businessmen blacklisted along with their companies, for what the Department described as “malign activity around the globe”, which includes meddling in the 2016 US election.

“You can be sure that international banks are not going to want to do business with them, unless authorised by the US. They do deal in US currency, so it will have an impact on them,” asserted Phillip Paulwell, Opposition Spokesperson on Mining.

Nigel Holness, president of the Jamaica Bankers Association told The Gleaner he has not discussed the matter with his colleagues, but members are expected to meet on Thursday.

The Gleaner reached out to WINDALCO to query its current financial standing. However, Monique Grange, information and public affairs officer told our news team, the company does not have a comment at this time.

Meanwhile, Paulwell believes the Government has not been moving with a sense of urgency to address the issue. “I am really quite surprised that we haven’t heard anything yet from the Minister. I think it requires an emergency sit down with the company to look at how it’s going to be able to manage this crisis and to preserve those 600 odd jobs,” Paulwell argued.

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