No easy exit from sugar, warns Sinckler

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler yesterday put up a stellar defence of Government’s continued subsidization of the ailing Barbados sugar industry.

Speaking in Parliament on a resolution to guarantee a $70 million loan from the Ansa Merchant Bank to the Barbados Agricultural Management Company Limited (BAMC), Sinckler said while the industry was certainly past its glory days, an exit from sugar was not as easy as it seemed.

He further cautioned that any such exit must be carried out in a manner that the social and economic fallout would be less than that experienced in other islands.

“I am not an agricultural expert and I am certainly not a sugar expert, but I know that if we take the example of what other countries have gone through and the environmental, ecological, economic, social and other challenges that have emerged for a disorderly exit out sugar, we know that Barbados, being the type of economy that it is, can ill-afford that type of luxury, if ever it could be defined as luxury,” he said.

The Minister of Finance argued that while sugar is no longer king, it remained entrenched in the social and economic landscape of the country.

“Transitioning out of sugar was not an inexpensive exercise, it is an extremely expensive exercise and one fraught with much difficulty and, even for some people involved in the industry, trepidation.

“We understand that even though sugar is no longer king in Barbados and tourism and other activities have taken centre stage, we know that because this plantation type economy that we have developed has been centred around a ridiculous set of activities for hundreds of years, it is not so easy as people seem to believe that it is; that you can just, as the old people would say, knock off the sugar industry like a hoe handle and then rush off into the sunset pretending that hundreds of years of history, embedded relationships, incestuous relationships, no longer exist.”

Sinckler contended that it was for this reason that Government continued to tread carefully in developing an appropriate response to the shortcomings of the industry.

“We have, as the saying goes, hastened slowly to try to develop an appropriate response, first for a restructuring of what we believe ought to emerge from the remnants of what is left in the sugar industry, but understanding in the context that to exit without a particular set of things in place would be to create far greater damage to the Barbadian economy and society,” he stressed.

The BAMC loan will assist the company in meeting its expenditure, including cost related to the Barbados Cane Industry Restructuring Project.

17 Responses to No easy exit from sugar, warns Sinckler

  1. Hal Austin December 8, 2016 at 4:47 am

    Not again. These so-called guarantees must be put on the nation’s balance sheet, where they belong.

  2. Phil December 8, 2016 at 6:04 am

    $ 70 Million? to subsidize BAMP? There has to be an audit here to establish exactly where these funds are going and how it is being expedited. I wonder what will be the smoke screen should it be discovered that BAMP was funding some outside their box. These things do happen.

  3. jrsmith December 8, 2016 at 6:38 am

    Our people in Barbados want to see the transparency of these vast sums of money, dear we never forget the (AUDIT GENERAL’S) report where nobody seems to have accountability for 100s of millions of bajan tax dollars , can be accounted for.

    We cannot trust our politicians with a box of apples…….

  4. Tony Webster December 8, 2016 at 6:48 am

    The Honourable gentleman, has a cabinet colleague, who has (had?( received Cabinet approval to go to a “Sugar industry” hydra-headed monster that would also produce lots of energy etc and he also knew where to get the loan(s) to build the new factory. Wha’ ‘appen to dat?

    A “transition”…clearly implies moving from something…to anudder thing? What , exactly, is that other thing, please?? Cost?

    Our agricultural lands , in St. Andrew basin, and everywhere else, is good land. we can grown most anything, but we need the guts to banish praedial larceny once and for all, which otherwise will doom any effort to launch meaningful large-scale agriculture of a new kind….such as hydroponic production on a vast scale, with production controlled by computer , which would also economise on water, pesticide and fertilizer usage. There are many agricultural experts, from the latee Ciolin Hudcson, to patrick Bethel, and many others, who have preciously provided advice to administrations of both colours.

    There is nothing more idiotic, than throwing good money after bad. Tek finger out; lay-out finite plans, and share these with the farmers and those willing to participate in a “new agriculture” for this country!

  5. Alex Alleyne December 8, 2016 at 7:12 am


  6. Charles Atkins
    Charles Atkins December 8, 2016 at 7:26 am

    Stop telling lies, plough up every square foot of land in Barbados and plant corn.
    Or try some hemp, maybe table grapes, passion fruit, root ginger, coconut trees, cashew nut trees.
    Pumpkin, carrots, tomatoes, sweet peppers, banana, plantain, sweet potato, breadfruit, beets, etc etc etc.
    Build a 20-30 million dollar processing plant and develop a Barbados brand of products; canned carrots, sun dried tomatoes, pumpkin pies, potato, breadfruit, banana and plantain chips.
    Natural drinks; coconut water, lemonade, passion fruit, beet and carrot with ginger.
    Grow garden herbs, I see that thyme, parsley and other succulent leaves are imported ” fresh ” from Israel and Turkey; let us grow and export to the world.
    I’ve seen asparagus growing quite successfully in Barbados, broccoli, cabbage, kale and the list goes on.
    Stop giving the poor BLACK PEOPLE MONEY to the white people; to take the hard earned money of one people’s and give it to another, who do nothing for it but extend their hand is a criminal act.
    It’s correct name is SLAVERY.
    You the person’s who perpetrate acts of cruelty under the watchful eye of Lord Admiral Nelson, have a lot to answer for.

    • Paul Joseph December 8, 2016 at 10:30 am

      Mr. Atkins,
      Your letter makes so much sense I wish you could run for Government. Well said!
      Paul Joseph.

  7. Andrew Simpson December 8, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Retain Portvale to process enough sugar for local consumption and other specialty purposes. Like the milk industry, issue quotas to farmers. Modular distributed technologies are becoming available to efficiently produce electricity from biomass; whether fuel cane, lucanae, or king grass. This can substitute for imported oil used in power generation. Even BWA could invest in equipment to generate from renewable sources, to be cultivated on public lands.
    Local food security must also be achieved through cooperation among policy makers, farmers and consumers, including the tourism sector. Keep in mind that livestock provides valuable organic matter for other crops and these can coexist with wind and PV.

  8. Eddy Murray
    Eddy Murray December 8, 2016 at 8:12 am

    But you all had 60million all ready for that, what you all did with it . Just knock down a old factory and the job not dones as yet.

  9. Daniel Polonis
    Daniel Polonis December 8, 2016 at 10:35 am

    umm merge into ethanol production…with sugar and corn… not to hard

  10. jrsmith December 8, 2016 at 11:05 am

    My take if you are building a mansion, you wouldn’t employ all painters , we have in power people who cannot manage Barbados (LTD) its so easy to count people stepping off a plane and how many planes arrive each day, thats the level of what our politicians know tourism and they are not even good at that….

    The only real answer if anything is to be done to move barbados forward is to privatize ,,,,
    The transport………………… how many buses is use able out of the fleet of 200 plus buses……..
    The water and sewage and floodings …..a bunch of clowns sewage in the streets blue grey brown water running from taps if there is water……
    The Light and power….. this is next in line for serious failures……
    The seaport…..well all the ghost containers which are not even open which is easy for drugs and guns and also chicken wings to be brought in……
    The airport…… where the workers is openly reselling goods confiscated from the travelling public. isn’t this good brilliant management….

    The major hospital……….

  11. Lilian Lloyd
    Lilian Lloyd December 8, 2016 at 11:30 am


  12. Heather Cole
    Heather Cole December 8, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    There is no such thing as ‘hastened slowly’ would the Minister please explain. It is only one or the other that can occur at one point in time. One clearly cannot agree to continuously dumping money into the Sugar Industry without returns. Would it not be beneficial in the short run to create new by-products from the existing canes and create new industries?

  13. jus me December 8, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    First .Get rid of DEMOCRACY
    It dont work, never worked never will work.

    We need as system where there is ACCOUNTABILITY.

    Look around you at the people who inhabit this Globe.
    How many of them you would trust to get 5$ back off if you crazy enough in the first place to lend them 5$.

    Which loan you would not make, cos what you see when you survey the biggest % of these folk ,dont add up to the trust for a 5$ loan.

    YET you cheerfully put your future , the countries future, in their hands by giving them the vote.
    They in turn repay your TRUST, by exchanging it for a Grantley ,or a promise of SOMETHING or just a few tins of cornbeef and place their X where the purveyor of the cornbeef dictates.
    Long live Democracy, long will last your Slavery.

    Democracy means YOUR FREEDOM.
    YES your FREEDOM to say what you like as long as what you say dont mean JACK S////
    Your freedom to be taxed to the eyeballs
    Your freedom to have NO FREEDOM.
    Freedom to live in a country where FOR YOU the LAW is a bad joke.
    You have the Freedom to be talked down to, by the very person who should be protecting you.
    Freedom to be told you are lucky to get substandard treatment from a disintigrating social care system.
    WOW!! How free you is.

    YOU ARE ALL JUST TAX PRODUCING UNITS,there for the benefit of a very closed group of ELITE individuals,who use you and BARBADOS as their PRIVATE BANK

  14. Alex Alleyne December 8, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Sugar is shackles.

  15. jus me December 8, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    Well Massah Chris now yuh done tell us wha yuh ent,how bout yuh tell us wha yuh is!?

    Mathematician ?? NO ooooooo
    SMART?? NO ooooo
    SLICK ? Gettin warm
    TRICKY?? Now yuh cookin

  16. Haskell Murray December 9, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    I have just read all of the comments and none of them know what a loan guarantee is, therefore let me explain. A loan guarantee is when a government signs a legal document giving a company(BAMP) a legal right to go and spend $70 million. This is called a contingent liability and only becomes an actual liability on the government books if BAMP does not pay back the $70 million.
    In layman terms if you sign at the bank for your son or daughter to get a loan to buy a car and the son or daughter don’t pay the car loan, the bank will collect from you. What you did was gave the bank a guarantee that you will pay in case your son or daughter don’t pay . This is what the Government has done.


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