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Jul 9, 2018

Minister Godwin Hulse on Santander: ‘The Offence is Not that Egregious.’

In June, the multimillion-dollar international company, Santander was slapped with financial fines by the Export Processing Zone Committee. This was after it was discovered that Spanish company had been selling sugar in the local market without the proper authorization.  The discovery sent the three cane farmers association in the north into a frenzy.  The northern sugar associations banded together and demanded that Santander should not be allowed to sell sugar locally and be penalized with the maximum fines for five infractions. After discussions, the EPZ Committee imposed the fullest extent of the law which translates to a nine thousand U.S. dollars fine. For a gargantuan company like Santander, the fine is seen as ‘chump change.’  For Minister of Agriculture, Godwin Hulse, the offence was “not that egregious.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Sir what is the update with Santander and the fines? I know that the financial fines were put upon them. Some say that it was too little for an international, multimillion dollars company.


Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture

“Not running by emotions. We are running by the law. The law has to be upheld. The offence is not that egregious. They put some products on the market that they shouldn’t. They had to withdrawn them. They clearly loss in that because in withdrawing it there was a matter with the cost at that and what you do with the product. That is the first instance and the second instance is that they have to comply with the law. They are an EPZ.”


Hipolito Novelo

“They continue to operating in Belize especially…? “


Godwin Hulse

“They will continue. We hope that they continue. They have huge investments. EPZ allows them to export their sugar. In fact the collective exportation of Santander and BSI this year has been us number one in the Caribbean.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Sir can they again apply to sell in the local market?”


Godwin Hulse

“They can apply for anything but whether that will be or not, is not my call. That is a Cabinet call. Clearly I would say categorically there is an agreement with our cane farmers up north. There are small farmers, thousands of them with BSI and BSI had long ago the right to put the sugar in the local market. Santander came as a completely different entity and we want to keep them to the agreements they had when they came.”

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