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Feb 20, 2019

Lobbying for Preferential Pricing of Sugar in the Caribbean

Mac McLachlan

The millers and the government have been working feverishly to lobby CARICOM to allow preferential pricing for direct consumption sugars in the Caribbean. As it currently stands, Belize, Jamaica and Guyana are sugar producing countries, but member states continue to import refined white sugar from outside the region. Because of the current world prices, the refined sugar is cheaper to import from Guatemala and South American countries. There is resistance in CARICOM, and despite countless workshops in the region, the mills are grinding slow. 

 

Mac McLachlan, VP International Relations, ASR Group

“It’s a travesty in my view that market demand within CARICOM countries of three hundred thousand tons of sugar, two hundred thousand tons of sugar is imported from Guatemala, Colombia and other destinations and yet we are forced along with other CARICOM producers to send our sugar off somewhere else to be refined. An increasing travesty is that the value because of the low global price in sugar means that it is increasingly attractive for industrial users of sugar to buy sugar from those other destinations. And because there is the Common External Tariff is not being applied fully on that sugar, it is displacing the opportunity for our sugar, for Jamaica for Guyana.”

 

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture

“I will say this without apology to any of my Caribbean colleagues, ministers included. I have said time and time again, the only reason all of us who look like us are here is because the English brought us to the Caribbean to cut sugar cane and to be indentured servants. And if in 2019, we can’t sell sugar into the Caribbean, what’s the point of the CSME? So sugar to me is the premiere product. No ifs, buts or maybes. If we still have to sell it in Europe and bring it back into the Caribbean, we really winding the clock back. But the whole idea of the DC sugars is to be able to get it there into the Caribbean on the table like we are doing in Belize.”


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.

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