Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Samuda takes Pan Caribbean to task

Published:Wednesday | August 9, 2017 | 12:00 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston
Shirley Lindo from Outa Earth Processors has the attention of Norman Grant (second left), president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society; Karl Samuda (second right), minister of industry, agriculture and fisheries; and former Member of Parliament Michael Stern on day one of the Denbigh Agricultural Show 2017.

Minister of Industry, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda had strong words regarding the handling of the Monymusk Sugar Factory in Clarendon.

In his opening address on Saturday at the 65th staging of the Denbigh Agricultural Show in the parish, in the midst of declaring his support for the struggling farmers, he said that the Government was tasked with the responsibility of handling Monymusk last year - something which cost them "hundreds of millions". He said that they were, again, expected to continue managing the estate for another year, "because the person to whom it was divested have no interest in spending another dollar. I am pursuing, vigorously, negotiations with Pan Caribbean at the highest level, both locally and in China, and at the diplomatic level, and at the corporate level," he said.

Samuda pointed out that it was only reasonable that corporations that give commitment to undertake certain things carry out those commitments. "If you are committed to making investments, you must invest," he chided.

The minister stressed that proper management should have been put in place and failure to do so will see consequences.

"It can't be a free for all because we are a small country, because we have challenges. People must begin to respect the sovereignty of our country and to protect the interest of the most vulnerable. I'm afraid that is my position and I will stand by it fearlessly, because I have had enough," are the resolute words coming from him.

Government purchase to come through agricultural sector

Karl Samuda had encouraging words for the farmers at the Denbigh Agricultural Show on Saturday. He shared that the Government had taken a decision that 20 per cent of what is purchased by them must be acquired through the agricultural sector.

"So that you don't go out and refurbish and service areas from people who provide the requirements abroad. When we have to go away to buy things that can be done locally, we are putting foreign hands to work and leaving Jamaican hands idle, this has to stop," he said.

President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society, Norman Grant, in his opening address at the function, said that he had high hopes for this year's event which was staged at a cost of more than $100 million.

Grant, in talking about the three-day festival, said that he was convinced it will generate economic activities "for the country, for the sector, and for the people of Clarendon and all the adjoining parishes in excess of a billion dollar".

However, some farmers are not as confident on this forecast, as they told The Gleaner news team that they feared the rains may put a damper on their expectations.