Bring the proof of illicit sugar sale, JMA tells James
Metry Seaga, chairman of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA), has fired back at Karl James, general manager of Jamaica Cane Products Sales Limited (JCPS), demanding that he provide evidence to support claims of the wide-scale illicit retail sale of refined (granulated) sugar, a practice he says has been happening for at least two decades.
"You going hear names eventually," James warned in a story published in last Sunday's Gleaner. He went on to accuse manufacturers who are granted duty-free access to import the refined sugar of diverting some of it to the retail trade.
"We have no question in our mind that it has been happening ... ," James further declared.
This has prompted Seaga to issue a press release yesterday demanding that the JCPS general manager provide proof in support of his claims or shut up.
"The association strongly suggests that Mr James either name the manufacturers who are purportedly taking part in this activity or to immediately cease and desist from his disparaging comments and consistent threats about a sector that contributes significantly to Jamaica's growth. The JMA asserts that we will not be intimidated by aggressive posturing," he declared.
Worked with the JCPS
The JMA president said he was taken aback by the claims, given that the JMA has worked with the JCPS and the agriculture ministry over the years to address the situation, despite the lack of evidence. Its failure to bring the matter to the attention of the police, despite being encouraged to do so by the JMA, also calls into question the validity of the claims, he charged in the press release.
"It is of great wonder that Mr James and Jamaica Cane Products Sales Limited are knowledgeable with regards to manufacturers who are allegedly retailing refined sugar in contravention of their import licences and fail to notify same.
"The JMA is urging all stakeholders to ensure accuracy in their public statements, so that we may work together to achieve an equitable solution," Seaga added.