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Jun 2, 2015

PM Did Say That G.O.B. Would Bail CPBL, But Would It Have Been Petrocaribe Funds?

Dean Barrow

At a conference on April twenty-ninth, the Prime Minister identified an issue within the citrus industry involving a lack of working capital for farmers who are yet to receive the balance of their first payment for deliveries made to CPBL.  The need for operational funds, according to PM Barrow, was for farmers to prepare for the new crop.  The government turned to Petrocaribe funds and provided two million dollars to the growers.  The PM said that if push came to shove, government would put up the entire four million dollars.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow [File: April 29th, 2015]

“There’s been a problem with CPBL. I’m happy to see the president of the Chamber of Commerce is here…I hope it is in solidarity with the citrus farmers. There’s been a problem because there is this lag between sale of products by CPBL and collection of the monies so the farmers haven’t been able to get the entirety of their first payment and they need monies now to start refurbishing the fields…they need their monies. Government, out of Petrocaribe funds, and the farmers of CPBL were told this…will provide a two million dollar capital facility so that the farmers can get paid now what they are due. They actually need four million. I have gone to Heritage Bank and Heritage Bank says it will put up the other two. I believe Steve is a man of his word. But it has to go to the board. But if that doesn’t happen, we will give them the entire four million dollars. When I say give, they are not asking for a handout. CPBL will pay us back. We did it last year. We thought it was one off. It took rather long, as Joe Waight keeps reminding, than they had promised, but they paid it back. And Petrocaribe and the government are happy to help the citrus farmers.”

 

This would be the second time in two years that the industry would be bailed out using the Petrocaribe Funds, but there was no indication that the bailout was by Petrocaribe. 

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