Commission of Inquiry Meets with Minister Mai, Visits BSI/ASR Factory

Commission of Inquiry Meets with Minister Mai, Visits BSI/ASR Factory

The Commission of Inquiry that has been mandated to look into the sugar industry had its first official meeting with government officials including the Minister of Agriculture, Jose Abelardo Mai.  The meeting took place yesterday and was followed by a visit to the BSI/ASR factory at Tower Hill.  According to Minister Mai, the meeting focused on providing clarity to the COI’s terms of reference.

Jose Mai, Minister of Agriculture: “There’s a very, very clear terms of reference. We can’t forget that. And so we must stick to the terms of reference. And so we spoke about that, the terms of reference, that everybody should really understand it. Really understand it and we expect that the reports focus on exactly what the terms of reference are. They visited the mill yesterday after they finished with us, they went to the mill. They visited the mills. So I don’t know what this question was about. I think they went to walk through the mill. Walked through the mill this was yesterday. Many of the problems that exist today is because of a lack of confidence. The farmers lack confidence in the millers and the millers lack confidence in the farmers and so I am hopeful that the Commission of the Inquiry will bring out all the details and all the facts, the numbers that they in their mind doubt. And I hope that BSI will reveal to them what they are doing so that we can put that behind us. Once we see the facts and we take empirical measurements, we’ll be able to have a better working relationship that may even set the pace for modern legislation regarding the industry. It is a shared cost, it’s not personally between BSI and the BSCFA. So what they do with their 35% is their business. We have no interest in that. We have interest only in what is shared cost. That is what the farmers are interested in, the shared cost.

Reporter: What is this costing us in order to be doing this? 

Jose Mai, Minister of Agriculture: “The budget…..  I think maybe close to $600,000 a bit more maybe. I think that was the last figure I saw.”

Reporter: Are we paying the, what do you call them, the consultants, the international consultants? Is that coming out of our pocket ? 

Jose Mai, Minister of Agriculture: “The Commissioners yes, commissioners, yes.”

Reporter: Okay, so that’s included in the 600. 

Jose Mai, Minister of Agriculture:Yeah, yeah, that’s everything.”

The six hundred thousand dollars that the government is paying for this inquiry includes the cost of the commissioners

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