Dennis Boothe new chair of Commodities Authority
Gusland McCook, acting director general of the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA), has confirmed that business consultant Dennis Boothe has been appointed chairman of the board of JACRA.
JACRA's first chairman, Richard Pandohie, resigned soon after taking the position last year.
McCook said that a new board has been named although consisting primarily of the same members as in 2018.
"A board has been named. It has not changed much. It is pretty much the same as what was there before," McCook told the Financial Gleaner.
He said that Boothe would bring to JACRA "a wealth of experience, especially from the coffee perspective. He was on some boards prior to now. For someone who has been there and done that in both financial and agricultural circles, I am sure he will bring a wealth of experience to this new enterprise".
JACRA, the new commodities regulator responsible for overseeing the coconut, spices, coffee, and cocoa sectors, launched operations in January 2018.
In one year of operations, it has been beset by controversy as producers and manufacturers protested a new cess imposed in March last year. The cess is intended to fund JACRA's operations, which include regulation of product quality.
It began to impose fees on growers and processors and non-agricultural traders with a cess on six crops - turmeric, ginger, pimento, coffee, and cocoa, ranging from US$0.18 to US$2.40 per kilogramme, with coffee facing the highest charges.
Payment of the cess by a grower, processor, manufacturer, importer or exporter is due 10 days after the sale of the product. The charge doubles if the entity fails to adhere to the payment schedule. They must also file annual sales records with JACRA, for which a breach incurs a fine of $3 million.
Manufacturers protested the increase in costs last year.
When contacted, Boothe said that he had no comment regarding changes expected in 2019, noting that he had not yet been officially briefed.
Boothe is a former banker and chairman of the Financial Sector Adjustment Company.
He is described online as a business-turnaround consultant focused on helping emerging businesses achieve operational and revenue growth.
He is also a former general manager of Jamaica Citrus Growers Limited and was also an International Monetary Fund advisor in South Sudan.
Boothe also served as special advisor to the minister of finance during 2008.