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Jamaican Government appoints sugar commission

Published:Thursday | April 22, 2010 | 12:00 AM

University professor Alvin Wint has been selected to chair the commission which will conduct an enquiry into the sugar industry. He will be supported by fellow commissioners Marjorie Henriques, a former director general of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, and accountant Wilfred Bagaloo.

The Cabinet has approved the terms of reference of the commission but these are yet to be released.

The Government has allocated just under $16 million for the commission, which is to review the current regulatory and pricing arrangements for sugar.

Rewriting rules

The planned establishment of a sugar commission of enquiry was first announced by Agriculture Minister Dr Christopher Tufton in February.

At that time, Tufton told Parliament that the enquiry was needed to conduct a rewriting of supervisory rules for sugar as well as adjusting pricing mechanisms.

Karl James, general manager of Jamaica Cane Products Sales, noted that the last review to determine compensation ratios for stakeholders in the sugar industry was back in 1987.

"The last commission agreed that the proceeds from sugar should be divided 62 per cent to the farmers and 38 per cent to the factory," James said.

While accepting that this pricing ratio was likely to be changed coming out of the current review, as the industry's ownership structure shifts, James warned that the interest of all parties must be weighed carefully.

The Government has sold two of the five sugar factories that it controlled and are continuing efforts to sell the others.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Bruce Golding told the nation that the divestment has seen renewed interest with a potential buyer with "strong financial credentials".