Belize - Belize News - Channel5Belize.com - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Agriculture, Featured » Government Weighs Decision on Santander Violations
May 31, 2018

Government Weighs Decision on Santander Violations

Will the Spanish sugar-producing company, Santander, be fined for violating the conditions of its Export Process Zone certificate for releasing plantation sugar in the local market? We asked that question to the junior Minister Tracey Panton since Tuesday, but tonight, it is still not clear if the company will be sanctioned. Santander Sugar Limited has acknowledged that it erred and was in fact testing the sale of sugar in the local market.  DV Distributors, under the supervision of the Customs Department, is now in the process of removing the poundage of plantation white sugar that the company had released into the domestic market.  Today, the Minister of State of Trade and Investment provided an update saying that there is still ongoing dialogue on this issue. Minister Panton was also asked how this happened under the nose of the ministry and if there is anything being done to prevent a similar recurrence. Here’s what she had to say about the matter, including her response to speculation that G.O.B. appears to be giving Santander a pass on a clear violation.

 

Tracey Panton

Tracey Panton, Minister of State, Trade & Investment

“I don’t know that the Ministry could have done anything differently. The condition of doing business with the Government of Belize is clear in the certificate of compliance. Santander had a duty, an obligation, a responsibility to act in accordance with those conditions. They decided not to and so all of that of course weighs in to a final decision that will be taken.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, they will be sanctioned, you’re saying? Or a decision is not final on that?”

 

Tracey Panton

“A decision is not final. We want to be fair to them and to the farmers that work with them, certainly. But we also want to respect the laws of this country and also the provisions of the EPZ programme which provides substantial concessions to developers to qualify for the programme. So, we will look at all aspects carefully and we will do our analysis and then we will table for consideration of the committee.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Minister, how do you respond to comments from the public – people who are saying that G.O.B. is being very light-handed with Santander; had it been another company – a local business that had done something like this they would be fined immediately or shut down?”

 

Tracey Panton

“I think that is unfair. I think that Santander was told that if it did not cease and desist immediately its EPZ License would have been revoked. We are doing everything we can to confiscate the sugar and we just also have to be mindful of the Belizeans who are hired by Santander and are a part of the Santander operation, as we are with the five thousand or so farmers in the north. As I have said before, the sugar industry is an important industry for Belize and Belize’s export market; we have to be fair to all concerned.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“The sugar – has it been taken off the market? Do you know?”

 

Tracey Panton

 “That process is ongoing. The Customs Department is in charge of that aspect of it. We know that they mobilized some teams to do that. But I haven’t gotten an update this morning as to how much they were able to confiscate, but it is our intention to take what is on the market off the market.”

Be Sociable, Share!


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.

Advertise Here

Leave a Reply

CAPTCHA Image
*