Jamaica Gleaner / Managing Director of Carreras Limited, Marcus Steele, says the rapidly growing illegal cigarette trade now accounts for almost 25 per cent of the total cigarette market in Jamaica.
“The illicit trade in cigarettes has been an ongoing challenge not only for the legal tobacco industry, but also for the Government, which we estimate continues to lose almost $5 billion in revenues annually as a result of this illicit trade” Steele said in a statement in reaction to Thursday’s seizure of 539 cartons of assorted counterfeit cigarettes in Clarendon.
“Carreras will continue to impress upon the Government the need for a sustainable tobacco excise policy that recognises the direct link between increasing tobacco excise and a proliferation of illegal cigarettes within the market”.
“We also will continue to emphasise the need for stronger border and port protection mechanisms and enforcement to stem the inflow of these illicit products”.
Forty-year-old businessman Fitzroy Parkinson and 47-year-old businesswoman Claudette Desouza, both of Jamesis Village, are charged with possession of uncustomed goods and were offered bail with surety when they appeared in court.
They are to return to court on May 11.
The police reported that the uncustomed cigarettes have a street value of $5 million Jamaican dollars.