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Jan 4, 2016

Attorney Eamon Courtenay Takes it to Jack Charles

Eamon Courtenay

The importation of Guyanese rice was an issue that was in the headlines for the most part of December. The premise on which the shipment of rice was being imported to Belize and introduced to the local market is affordability.  Previously, Jack Charles proposed that he could retail a pound of Guyanese rice for as little as sixty-nine cents, considerably less than the existing cost of that which is produced locally.  While the catch was to attract the budget consumer, Courtenay says that Jack Charles would be the only one benefiting from that arrangement, much to the detriment of the local industry.

 

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney, Belize Agro-productive Sector Group

“There was put before the court an article from 2014 where rice was exported from Guyana to Chile where the rice was found to be contaminated and it was returned.  We are not advocating that Belize should bear that risk.  That rice has not been tested by Belizean authorities.  It should leave Belize the quicker the better.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, so what is the deadline they’ve been given to remove this rice?”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Well, as I understand the letter to Mr. Charles, the primary position is that it is to be confiscated and destroyed.  They are giving him an opportunity, and this was from the twenty-third of December, to take it out and attempt to do something with it.  So Customs, once again, is bending over backwards saying to him, “listen you brought this thing illegally, take it out.  We’re not going to destroy it.”  I would think that, you know, what, a week has passed and he’s done nothing.  I would urge Customs to move with dispatch at this stage and I hope that they do. How can somebody in good conscience promote the importation of rice to benefit the rice farmers of Guyana, to make a profit for himself and himself alone, one person and say to hell with the domestic producers of rice.  To hell with all the people who are planting, who are milling, who are distributing, all the people who have jobs in the fields, all the people who have jobs in the mills, all the people in the distribution sector, to hell with them.  Listen, one has to be honest when one is attempting to be charitable.  Mr. Charles wants the people of Belize to believe that he loves them so much that he is going to bring in rice into Belize for sixty-nine cents.  Listen, fool di talk but dah noh fool di listen.  After he brings in the first few containers for sixty-nine cents, what stops Mr. Charles from taking it up to eighty-nine cents and ninety cents?  There is no alternative, right?  Mr. Charles says that he is going to bring in rice for twenty percent of the market, what stops him from going to twenty-five?  What stops him from going to thirty?  Listen, there was nothing charitable about what he was doing.  He does not have the interest of the Belizean consumers [at heart], he has his pocket as his primary interest.  Nobody could quarrel with him with that except that we live in a country where you have a government that has taken a decision with respect to the rice industry, that is going to safeguard the rice industry as an important contributor to development, to gross domestic product and also to employment.  So please, ker da sad story somewhere else.”

 

There is no word at the moment what will become of the three containers.

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1 Response for “Attorney Eamon Courtenay Takes it to Jack Charles”

  1. Jambalaya says:

    I wish the truth about JC’s intentions would be brought to light. JC demanded that the local rice mills reduce their price of wholesale and bagged rice to him so he could make a greater margin. He wanted a $.10 reduction for every pound of rice so he could make that much more money. When the mills denied him then he declared he would get even. So this is simply settling the score with the local mills. Far from the knight in shining armor that he is trying to make the public believe that he is. Mr. Courtenay is absolutely correct; JC is doing this for his pocket and his pocket only.

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