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Will GOB intervene to save the Sugar Industry?

The BSCFA has said previously that they believe the impasse will not be resolved without the government’s intervention. But, ASR/BSI has rejected those suggestions and is taking the government to court over certain aspects of the Sugar Industry Act. However, the Government is looking at how they can revise the Act to remedy the issues of the Sugar Industry once and for all. Minister of Agriculture, Jose Mai, says that these changes will be implemented amicably to ensure both the farmers and the miller are treated fairly.

Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security & Ent.: “I don’t know that ASR has offered anything much. I know that BSFA have requested certain things and they have received responses from BSI that that will not work, there are a number of requests that BSFA has done and the response has been no. I think there is only one request which has been met with a counter proposal but all the rest have been bluntly no so negotiations haven’t gone forward the way we expected it to go. 

Reporter: Given that, do you believe that it may lead to government intervention and how far will the Government intervene? We know that issue is very vital to the north and five government ministers are a part of the association. 

Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security & Ent.: “These are two private entities. We are the Government, the mediating body. We also are the lawmaking body so we have to ensure that whatever legislation is put in place can stand. I think that you know by now that BSI/ASR has a legal claim, a legal challenge for the Sugar Industry Act. They have challenged a number of sections in the Act saying we are violating, the Act violates their constitutional rights. So whatever Act we come up with has to be one that can stand in court too but we must remember that the Act is there to protect both the manufacturer and the cane farmer. Now if you request for deregulation it must be for both sides, not one side only and this is what we are facing right now.”