I only seek transparency
THE EDITOR, Sir:
FURTHER to discussions held with Mr Cliff Hughes and Dr Christopher Tufton during a recent interview on Nationwide radio, I want to clearly state that I was not questioning the integrity of Dr Tufton, whom I have held in high regard. However, I had appealed to Dr Tufton for his understanding and intervention through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, at a time when the importation of chicken neck and back had skyrocketed by more than 200 per cent - permits for which were granted under his tenure.
Vulnerable to criticism
It is well known on the streets that people who had no previous history of the retailing or wholesaling of chicken were being granted permits. That makes the ministry extremely vulnerable to criticism, especially in light of the tremendous increase in the number of permits granted. It also puts the formal sector and the public at risk as it is alleged that many of the companies to which permits were granted do not have the requisite public-health approval to handle such products.
My call to the previous and present administrations through Minister Roger Clarke remains unchanged - TRANSPARENCY. I am in no way questioning any minister's authority to import any quantity of any chicken product that, in his opinion, is best for the country. However, as a poultry producer, I do feel that there must be dialogue with the industry, especially when an increase in importation is being considered. Most important, there should be full transparency regarding the companies or individuals who are being granted import licences. This information must be made public on a quarterly basis to ensure that transparency in the industry is achieved.
CEO, Jamaica Broilers Group