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Jamaica received value for money in sugar deal - Hill

Published:Wednesday | February 15, 2012 | 3:55 PM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

Former banker Aubyn Hill said Jamaica received value for money spent in the divestment of its sugar assets.

Hill, who has been paid over $40 million for his role in divesting the five state-owned loss-making entities, said divestment is a costly exercise.

"We have divested to three very strong parties ... The government does not have one share," Hill said while arguing that there is no moral hazard on the part of the Government.

"Le'ts say, God forbid, that there was a strike at Duckenfield in St. Thomas, Duckenfeld can't hand it back to the Government and say, look we are going to lock down Jamaica and therefore you are going to have to take it back. They will have to deal with the issue as owners of that entity," Hill said.

"The last bill, before we took over to start divest, the government in that year lost over $5 billion," Hill said.

He argued that with the divestment, the $4 to 5 billion a year losses are off the taxpayers' back.

Hill has also defended the money he has earned. In a statement to parliament on Tuesday, Minister of Agriculture, Roger Clarke said $28.2 million was paid out to Hill by the agriculture ministry for his role in divesting the St Thomas and Trelawny sugar estates.

Another $16.1 million was paid to the former banker for the divestment of Frome, Monymusk and Bernard Lodge sugar estates.

"The biggest part of that was when I was a consultant. When I was a consultant obviously I had to pay staff, I have to pay rent," Hill told The Gleaner.

In addition to Hill's fees, Clarke told the House it has cost the country $106 million in legal fees, $14.6 million for titling-related expenses, $683 million for the transfers of SCJ holdings for operations and $210 million for sundry expenses.