In a press release by the opposition spokesman on Agriculture Dr. Fenton Ferguson, the Opposition called on the Minister to immediately hand this information to the authorities to allow for full investigation into the long-standing matter and allow the law to take its course.
In a recent meeting with the Opposition, cane farmers at Frome blamed the illegal distribution of imported white sugar for their late payment from the manufacturers.
The farmers reported that the very slow sale oflocally produced brown sugar was causing cash flow issues for their manufacturers who have significant amounts of sugarremaining in storage.
This has resulted in late payments to farmers, creating a major money crisis and a slowdown of field production, hence manyhave been forced to abandon the cane fields.
The PNP is of the view that there must be a solution to this problem as for some time stakeholders in the sugar industry havelamented that this purported leakage has been a major impediment to the overall viability of the industry.
Dr. Ferguson is calling on the Minister to do what is necessary to resolve this situation. It is therefore imperative that in facilitating this process the Minister should immediately hand over all information and/or leads that in his own words “… are more than anecdotal” and citing that “corruption is everywhere including at customs and among so-called brokers who are brokering on behalf of the manufacturers who import the sugar duty free”.
The Opposition says that the Minister’s broad-brush approach against public servants and legitimate businesses should be substantiated with facts to ensure the protection of legitimate manufacturing or brokerage operations while resolving this vexing issue.
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