Earlier this week American Sugar Refinery’s Belize Sugar Industries announced that it had purchased a sixty foot tug boat to increase its efficiency in transporting sugar. Yesterday, Jose Mai, who is also the PUP’s shadow minister for agriculture spoke negatively about the one point two million dollars investment.
Jose Mai: “Macdan made an announcement to the Northern Caucus and my question to him was how will this reduce the cost of local handling? Does the invest of $1.2 million in a steel tug; will that reduce the cost of local handing and his answer was they don’t know so why invest in it; leave it as it is. My position on that is that is if you cannot lower the cost of local handling a responsible enterprise will look at other options, contract that operation out, put it out to tienda. There are several instances where private companies can make things cheaper than what you can and they know that because they themselves contract out when the crop is over. They give out certain operations for improvement to the Mill or replenishing things in the Mill and they give it out to contracts so they know this. My view is that they hold this local handling close to their chest and they don’t want to let it go. It is my belief and many others belief that that is a revenue stream for ASR and that is why they don’t want to let that go so the $1.2 million investment in a tug that does not lower the cost of local handling means nothing to me or to the farmer.
He says that only ASR/BSI will be benefitting from this new investment. In its release, ASR/BSI says the new vessel is capable of pulling twice the sugar load of the other tugs in its fleet.