Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda has instructed that the Monymusk Sugar Factory remains open until cane farmers crops have been reaped.
Addressing the official opening of the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in May Pen, Clarendon on August 5, Mr. Samuda noted that the move was necessary to protect the interest of the famers.
“My job, as I understand it, is to do everything in my power to make our people better off…not to shut them off from their livelihood and let them suffer out there…that is not my philosophy,” he said.
Additionally, Mr. Samuda informed that he is pursuing negotiations “at the highest level” with Pan Caribbean Sugar Company and its Chinese parent company, COMPLANT, which operates Monymusk.
This, he said, is being done with a view to ensuring that the corporations uphold certain investment commitments to the Clarendon-based sugar factory.
The Government has been involved in the operations of Monymusk after the Chinese indicated that they were unable to keep the factory open for the 2017-2018 crop year.
The Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister said that sugar cane factories possess enormous opportunities for the training of young engineers and he “will stand in defence of those (and other) people”.
Meanwhile, turning to other industries like marijuana, Mr. Samuda urged stakeholders not to get impatient with Government in its pace for takeoff of the industry.
“We have so far taken our time to do what we can properly. It is a sensitive industry and it is one that requires a level of maturity and understanding. We cannot make a mistake,” he said.
Mr. Samuda informed that the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has so far received 230 applications of varying types, related to transporting, retailing and cultivation.
He noted that of that figure, 47 have been processed for conditional licenses. Conditional approval means that the CLA would have conducted a satisfactory background check and the applicant is now required to implement the necessary measures to get the actual licence to enter the industry.
Chairman of the Denbigh Show Committee Norman Grant, for his part informed that the three-day show is expected to net one billion dollars for the economy.
Mr. Grant, who is also the President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) also informed that a programme will be started, which will ensure that the show grounds are used daily for the entire year.
The JAS President noted that plans to open up the property for Jamaicans to exercise and to keep fit have received endorsement from the Ministry of Health.
The Denbigh Development Company is also to be listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange in a bid to raise capital.
By Chad Bryan