Cane hopes up in smoke
KINGSTON – Jamaica’s critically ill sugar industry is being pushed closer to its grave by people who continue to illicitly burn the canefields.
It is a practice which baffles Allan Rickards, chairman of the All-Island Jamaica Cane Farmers’ Association, who expressed his frustration at farmers, contractors and other stakeholders, particularly in Westmoreland, who are “willingly tying their own nooses”.
“I say to you, as I say to my colleagues in Westmoreland, we are our own worst enemies in many respects; because if we were not a part of that problem, we would be more firmly placed as a part of the solution,” said Rickards.
“I am in deep sympathy for anybody who has to manage a factory in Westmoreland. As we speak, upwards of 60 per cent of cane delivered to the factory is being burnt illicitly,” added Rickards.
“When you can tell me that somebody wants to take a trip overseas and deliberately burn their cane so it can be reaped, even though they know it is a month or two young and it will affect the price.
“When you will tell me that somebody will burn cane because it is Christmas time and they don’t want so much to spoil the view around their house.
“When you will tell me that people burn cane because they quarrel with their neighbour whose cane they are not burning, and that 19 000 or 20 000 tonnes of cane was burnt down because the police arrest the bike taxi man them that operating illegally, I can only say to you that suicide is not uncommon in this country,” added Rickards. (Gleaner)