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Urgent need for sugar solutions


CHARLES HOLDER

Urgent need for sugar solutions

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DO WE HAVE to commit $500 million on a new state of the art sugar factory which most likely will be a white elephant? Five hundred million is not five cents and this is without interest and other fees. This type of outlay will take years to recoup.

Mike Gill, a sugar producer, raised doubts about the industry and his views are shared by many who will not speak out. Many see the sugar industry in the ICU.

Why not upgrade Portvale in light of current conditions. Couldn’t we equip this factory to produce alcohol, the different grades of sugar over time, the molasses and bagasse instead of committing such vast outlay to a spanking new factory, a seeming monument for posterity or a “white elephant”, at a much lower cost?

Globally sugar consumption is on the decline. We have Brazil, Australia, Cuba and Central America regionally Guyana and Jamaica who benefit from economies of scale. Should we be committing these resources? Under the past administration there was the idea to create a landfill at Greenland, an unstable geological area of Barbados. People protested but the decision to go ahead prevailed; millions were spent. What do we have today, lest we forget?

A rethink of this one factory has to be done bearing in mind the present health of the industry and our experts, economist, sugar cane farmers need to air their candid views on this important economic, financial and national issue. The idea is good on paper but there is need to look at the underlying factors and their ramifications.

CHARLES HOLDER

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