BARBADIAN PRIME MINISTER MEETS WITH SUGAR OFFICIALS

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Prime Minister Freundel Stuart today met with key stakeholders in the sugar industry and reiterated Government’s commitment to its short and long-term viability.

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(ATTN: FAIR USE & COMMENTARY – CLICK FOR BIGGER) Mr. Stuart met with representatives of the industry, comprising the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), led by its General Secretary, Toni Moore; the Barbados Sugar Industry Limited (BSIL), led by its Chairman, Patrick Bethell; the Barbados Agricultural Management Company, led by its Chairman, Dr. Don Marshall and General Manager, Leslie Parris; the Barbados Cane Industry Corporation’s Chairman, Dr. Attlee Brathwaite and Project Manager, Carl Simpson; the Sugar Industry Supervisors’ Association and the Inter Sugar Partnership. Also present at Government Headquarters for the three-hour long meeting were Minister of Agriculture, Dr. David Estwick; Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler; and senior government officials.

The Prime Minister explained that the meeting had been convened as a result of letters he received from the BWU and the BSIL requesting dialogue on the state of the sugar industry. He told the approximately 40 persons present: “We are still committed to a sugar industry in the short-term, and our medium-term goal is to transform it into a sugar cane industry. But there have to be significant structural changes in the industry.”

He assured the stakeholders that there would be a 2015 sugar crop, promising that Government would do all it had to do to expedite the relevant processes. He said Government was spending a substantial amount of money to maintain the sugar industry because it knew its significant impact on Barbadians.

Mr. Stuart stressed that Government would do everything in its power to meet, to the best extent possible, the diverse needs of the sugar stakeholders, but he reminded the gathering that the country was functioning during very challenging circumstances.

The Prime Minister described today’s talks as fruitful, stating that “frankness and commitment” pervaded the meeting. (SA/BGIS)

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