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Dec 24, 2015

Sergio Garcia Asks C.E.O. Alpuche a Tough Question

Sergio Garcia

Former Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Sergio Garcia is presently a technical advisor to Jack Charles.  As a regional trade specialist, Garcia is familiar with the provisions of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy Treaty.  But he has come under fire from current C.E.O. Jose Alpuche for failure to implement measures that would have prevented price gouging by producers and retailers.  After prevaricating his response, Garcia places the increase in the cost of rice over the past five years squarely at the feet of C.E.O. Alpuche.

 

Sergio Garcia, Former C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture

“This thing addresses three things.  The first is food security.  The problem in Belize is not the lack of food, the lack of availability rather than the affordability, access.  Where you have a population of forty-three percent that is considered poor then affordability becomes the issue.  So, at the end of the day I think about not only four or five big producers but rather the three hundred and fifty thousand Belizeans who need to eat rice.  The second thing I want to say is that Belize signed on to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, therefore we cannot use barriers for trade.  Articles One-eighty-two under the CSME Treaty speaks about consumer protection.  Nobody is talking about consumer protection which is that consumers also have the right to access the highest quality product at the lowest cost.  That is their right under the CSME Treaty.  So while we think about four producers, or five producers we have to think about the three hundred and fifty thousand other Belizean consumers.  So, from my perspective, probably I was more narrower than them.  But also I want to ask the hard question: Why is it that Belizean consumers must subsidize the rice producers?  That’s the question I want the C.E.O. to answer me.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, respectfully I don’t believe you touched the question at all.  I asked, you were there, you could have effected change, you did nothing, according to him, and now you’ve joined the private sector and have taken up this…  Why didn’t you do it when you were at the helm?”

 

Sergio Garcia

“Do what?”

 

Reporter

“The same…”

 

Sergio Garcia

“Listen to me, we cannot live in a free trade world with protectionism…  When [did the price of] rice gone up?  In 2011, it was still at sixty cents.  I wasn’t the C.E.O.  I left from C.E.O. in 2001.  So who is responsible from 2011 to now?  Him.  So he should answer the question not me, because rice was sixty cents.  Check your records for 2011.  So it jumped from sixty cents to one [dollar] and twenty [cents] in five years and who was the C.E.O. then?  So I can’t answer that for him, I think he should answer.”

 

All parties return to court on January fourth where a decision will be taken on whether judicial review will be granted.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Sergio Garcia Asks C.E.O. Alpuche a Tough Question”

  1. MNHG says:

    Good!!!
    straight hair people are smart also.

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