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Jun 14, 2018

G.O.B. Rejects Santander’s Request to Sell Sugar Locally

There is sweet news for cane farmers who strongly fought against the Spanish multinational, Santander, for introducing white sugar into the local market. Tonight, there is a decision in respect of a request by Santander to sell some five thousand tons of white sugar and two thousand tons of molasses for local consumption.  The Export Processing Zone Committee met on Tuesday and also considered the violations to the EPZ license issued to the company. First, the Committee has decided to deny the waiver. The decision was taken since there is no shortage of sugar in the domestic market to warrant a waiver. Second, in respect of the violations to its Certificate of Compliance and Operations Contract, the company will be fined; a quantum, which up to news time is still being worked out.   In May, Santander was found to be selling plantation white sugar in stores in Orange Walk, Corozal and Cayo even though it did not have the status to so do. The three cane farmers associations in the north came out forcefully against the Spanish company on the grounds that it affected their bottom line.  This afternoon, the P.U.P. Deputy Leader, Abi Mai, who has been championing for the livelihood of cane farmers, supported the rejection, but was cautious about the fines to the company.

 

Jose Abelardo Mai

Jose Abelardo Mai, P.U.P. Area Representative, OW South

“I’m pleased to hear that the EPX committee will not grant the waiver, but it is not that I’m rejoicing for Santander; that is not the case. I think Santander has invested millions of dollars in the sugar industry. So while we are pleased for the farmers in the north, we certainly are concerned about Santander and their ability to market their sugar. So it is something that we need to address very carefully.”

 

Duane Moody

“Outside of the rejection of the waiver proposal by Santander, the release goes on to speak about penalties to Santander for its violation of the EPZ, but it stops short of what that penalty is or how much they will be fined. Any comments to that?”

 

Jose Abelardo Mai

“Well we live in a country of rules and regulations and there is a penalty for anybody breaking the law. If I go into somebody’s house, I have to face the law and they will decide what is the fine. So they are being imposed a fine; I do not know what the fine is, but I would say, we do not want to impose an additional cost on investors like Santander. They are not receiving the waiver, I should say. If they are to be penalized, I do not know if the right thing is to impose…or what is the maximum fine. What is the dollar value; that is what worries me. But I don’t know that you want to add more to a company that is already having problems marketing their product.”

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