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Jan 14, 2016

B.P.P. Weighs in on Rice Debacle

Paco Smith

Today, the Belize Progressive Party weighed-in on the rice issue once again. In a previous release the party called for the government not to destroy the three containers of Guyanese rice that remain at the Big Creek Port in the south. In an interview today, the Party Chairman Paco Smith says that research shows that there are certain aspects of the rice industry that have not been divulged by the government and rice producers.

 

Paco Smith, Chairman, B.P.P.

“We know what is happening…well at least we think we know what is happening in the forefront, but there are a lot of things going on in the background as well. What we’ve done is conducting some research with regards to the norms, practices and procedures and lack thereof with regards to certain aspects of the rice industry. And we found that there were certain gaps, certain instances in which things are not really being said that should be said. One of the profound things that we found and personally, I did not know this, but there are several different grades of rice. And in terms of the grades of rice that are out there, only one is price controlled and that is grade C. With regards to the others, there is no price control. So you can see right there in terms of the fluctuations in the market with the specific grade of rice, well there’s room for price gouging. It’s fairly obvious to us that due to the willful negligence of successive administrations, our rice industry is in the state that we find it. And it extends beyond the rice industry. I mean, we need not look any further than the sugar industry and the misgivings that have taken place there. The bottom line is that—and of course what I say is based on research and an alternative perspective—but what we are looking at is a situation in which our local industries are not being facilitated in a manner in which they should, in an equitable fashion. We always talk about having a level playing field and what have you and it’s obvious that the powers that be are not creating such an environment. Hence we have those issues cropping up.”

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