JIS News

Agriculture Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has said that the government will be safeguarding the interests of sugar workers under the modernization programme for the sector.
“The government is not about to abandon the sugar workers even those at the bottom of the scale, the minimum wage earners,” Dr. Tufton said, noting that very high on the modernization agenda is increasing access to housing solutions for sugar workers.
The Agriculture Minister, who was addressing the annual general meeting of the National Workers Union held recently at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, was responding to concerns raised by the membership about the modernization programme for the industry, which includes the divestment of sugar factories.
Dr. Tufton said that government recognized the importance of sugar to rural communities and had no intention of “just dropping the industry.”
“We understand the implications for communities that traditionally depend on a particular activity,” he stated.
He noted that the government had to go the divestment route, as a means of increasing profitability and ensuring that workers get a good wage.
“We have to make a decision as to whether we can get our industry there.the government believes that we can get sugar to the point where it is viable and so allow you to earn for argument sake, $1000 per day, but it is going to require some adjustments,” he stated.
He said the government is of the opinion that getting a private investor to manage the sugar factories is the best option in that, the investor will put in place the proper management structure and technology to achieve profitability.
He noted however that the private investor “has to come with deep pockets because let me tell you straight, the government don’t have any deep pockets.”

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