JIS News

The Jamaican government will pursue discussions at the highest levels in the European Union (EU), to ensure the viability of the sugar industry in the face of the price cuts scheduled to begin in 2006.
This is in addition to pursuing ongoing efficiency measures, Prime Minister P.J. Patterson said yesterday (July 19) in Parliament. He was responding to questions submitted by Opposition Leader, Bruce Golding regarding the status of the industry.
Mr. Patterson said the talks with the EU, would be in regard to the promised tangible support for the restructuring measures that would be necessary and outlined in the European Commission’s Action Plan.
Meanwhile, he said that the government would be examining studies on the feasibility of establishing a refinery, the production of ethanol for use in the local transportation sector and possibly for export, and the use of bagasse for co-generation.
He also informed, that “in view of the importance of the sugar industry, we will continue to hold a series of meetings, which will include representatives at the political and community levels and stakeholders, including the trade union movement, as we decide on the way forward for the industry.”
Mr. Patterson said that he would present a definitive position on the future of the industry by the end of October.