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Help coming for BAMC, says govt

Trevor Yearwood

Help coming for BAMC, says govt

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GOVERNMENT IS LOOKING at ways it can help the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC), amidst reports that the agency which operates the lone sugar factory is short of money.

Acting Prime Minister Richard Sealy told reporters Thursday that officials of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Agriculture were viewing the BAMC aid in the context of the plans to restructure the sugar industry.

“What we have been doing is engaging with the BAMC and its partners,” he said. “Clearly, there will be changes with respect to how we manage the industry in Barbados but we’re trying to do it as smoothly and pragmatically as we possibly can with regard to our economic history and, culturally, it still means a lot to some people and we know there’s the issue of the viability of the sector.

“But we need to look at how we can do it and smoothly transition into another phase of how we handle that industry. We must also be mindful of the fact that 600 people are still employed in the sector and we have to be sensitive to these persons and their families.”

He added: “We will do what we can to make sure that we transition into another phase and it will call for some resources to be allocated to the BAMC, but we are currently looking at that and officials with  [the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Agriculture] to see how best we can deal with the future, but make no mistake about it . . . there is going to have to be the much-talked-about restructuring of the sector . . . .”

Sealy did not detail what help was sought by BAMC but usually reliable sources said the agency had not received some badly needed funding from Government and was considering laying off staff and cutting back operations.