Amnesty bins have been installed at both international airports, as part of efforts to prevent plant and animal diseases from entering the island.
Chief Plant Quarantine/Produce Inspector in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Sanniel Wilson-Graham, said the amnesty bins allow travellers to voluntarily discard any plant, plant products or animal products that are not permitted to enter the island.
“There is a declaration that travellers must make on entering Jamaica. That declaration is actually on the immigration form and there is actually a fine once that declaration is not made and it is discovered by Jamaica Customs,” Mrs. Wilson- Graham told JIS News.
She said that in addition to the bins, a public service announcement will be played at the airports reminding travellers to declare all plant and animal products.
“There is a point at which when they enter the country, they will see these signs asking them to discard of their plant and animal products. Beyond that point we are going to be engaging Customs to start charging persons for illegal imports,” she pointed out.
Mrs. Wilson-Graham told JIS News that the country is on high alert for pests, such as the Mediterranean fruit fly and the Tropical Race 4.
“What we are trying to do is raise the awareness of the public to the importance of actually not carrying in a plant; plant product or an animal product that potentially carry a disease from another country that we do not have and can cause serious economic impact in trying to manage, contain and eradicate that pest, but more importantly, it will ultimately affect our food security,” she explained.