Alternative sugar plan under consideration
Two alternative “solutions” for rescuing the struggling sugar industry have been tabled.
However, investigations by Barbados TODAY have revealed that a recent proposal made to Cabinet by Barbados Farms Limited, a subsidiary of Sagicor Finance Corporation, has since been withdrawn. Mention was made of the proposal by Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick in a letter to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart dated November 17, 2014 in which he complained that Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler had told Cabinet that Sagicor had no interest in the restructuring project.
“I said to Cabinet that Sagicor does not direct me and that I am instructed by the Cabinet of Barbados. I reaffirmed the said position I held and placed in a meeting between Sagicor, BSIL, the Prime Minister and me in July 2014,” Estwick wrote.
In the meantime, the Chairman of the BSIL Patrick Bethel confirmed to Barbados TODAY this afternoon that a second plan was now under consideration by the growers.
He was adamant that if the US$250 million loan plan, which is now before Cabinet, did not materialize, “we have as Barbadians to find a solution and I believe we have one”.
Bethel stressed that the second plan was an “in-house” proposal that was separate and distinct from the one that was withdrawn.
“I am not prepared to say any more at this time,” he told Barbados TODAY.
However, the BSIL Chairman was insistent that matter had to be resolved.
“The Government is negotiating. We have to wait and see. The Prime Minister has stated he is going to support the industry, so I have to act on that. But all I am saying is, if this doesn’t pan out, I am not going to throw my hands up in the air and say it’s all over.
“We have to find an alternative and I believe [that] with the best of wills, we have an alternative.”