Unsettled debt

Private cane farmers urge Govt to pay up outstanding amounts

With the 2018 sugar cane harvest a mere two months away, private cane farmers are appealing to Government to settle millions owed to them in outstanding debt.

On Wednesday, Director of Barbados Farms Limited Edward Clarke, one of the island’s leading industry officials, made a direct appeal to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to pay up the outstanding sums, dating back more than three years.

Initially Government had promised that it would pay incentives of up to $160 per tonne to the farmers by the end of the 2016 crop. However, up to April last year they had only received part payment of about $45 per tonne with Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler later conceding that Government was finding it difficult to settle the debt.

This after the $15 million that was owed in incentive payments for the 2015 crop was finally settled in 2016.

During yesterday’s Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) luncheon at the Hilton Barbados Resort, Clarke did not miss the opportunity to bring the matter to the Prime Minister’s attention.

“We must not forget our farmers in the sugar industry. Our private farmers have done all that has been asked of them by Government and various agencies, yet they are still owed for some of the canes delivered in 2017 although we have been advised that the necessary finances had been secured by Government. I am asking the Prime Minister today to use his good office to try and ensure that we do receive what is owed to the sugar cane sector,” Clarke told Stuart, who was the featured speaker at the BCCI luncheon.

The sugar industry currently employs about 3,000 part-time and full-time workers.

Over the past year Clarke has been complaining about the slow pace at which Government was honouring its debts, while suggesting that without the necessary funds, the sector could find it difficult to reinvest.

He reiterated that warning at the luncheon, stating that the outstanding payments were necessary if the island were to continue to meet its sugar yield targets.

 “We expect the 2018 sugar harvest to be better than 2017 and the only way that can succeed is if the people that deliver can get the money on a timely basis to ensure that they can properly deliver a 2018 service, and that includes the Government agency, the Barbados Agricultural Management Company,” said Clarke.

Up to the end of June last year Portvale Factory had processed just over 132,845 tonnes of sugar, compared with 83, 369 tonnes for the 2016 season.

2 Responses to Unsettled debt

  1. Helicopter(8P) January 26, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Mr Sinckler this is indeed an SOS call! Growing up in the sugar belt in Barbados I have a full-hand knowledge of the expenditure incurred by planting, preparing, fertilizing, deweeding, cutting and tranporting harvested sugar cane, so it would be great when these important farmers are paid.

  2. Greengiant January 29, 2018 at 9:34 am

    @Helicopter: I traveled to St. Lucy last night to listen to some
    B L P candidates speak to the people of the north, and of course making every effort to unseat Kellman.

    It was business as usual, they talked about Kellman when he was Caricom ambassador several years ago, they talked about selling food by the weight, they talked about the grotto project, they talked about the ‘change’ that must come, they talked about all sorts of things not relevant to the future of Barbados post 2018 election.

    The B L P need to tell the civil servants how soon they will proceed with wage negotiations should the government leave office without a wage settlement, they need to tell citizens what we the people need to do working hand in hand with them to turn around this country. The B L P should leave out the N H C as they have failed as well. They made a mess at Bulkeley meadows, Coverley, and Warrens Commercial (Barrack building) projects. I’m sure if we conduct an analysis the B L P has cost taxpayers more losses in revenue than the D L P. When there is more money, the squandering is greater. I couldn’t believe they talked about Elizabeth Thompson managing our Health, and Environmental services. Her track record has been a complete scandal for the B L P in the past, and if this is all the B L P has to offer, then I have to say a resounding no.

    For those of you supporters who like my friend ‘Lorenzo” will call me a hidden D L P, let me make it clear The only political party that has declared a clear vision for Barbados by telling us what they will do, how they will do it, and what we the people will have to contribute for the benefit of all is Solutions Barbados. So I’m a declared supporter of Solutions Barbados at this time. Both leading parties are stuck in the politics of history, circus spot meetings for the purpose of entertainment, and sales for shops in the area. Barbados needs alternative ideas, and the two leading parties are bankrupt of ideas sadly.


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