Newly appointed Chairman of the Sugar Industry Commission of Enquiry, Professor Alvin Wint, has stated that public hearings, geared at developing a new framework for the sector, will begin on Monday, June 14 at the Bernard Lodge Sugar Estate, St. Catherine.
Speaking Tuesday (June 1) at a press conference at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hope Gardens, Kingston, Professor Wint said individuals and organisations interested in appearing before the Commission are welcomed to make an appointment.
“We really would hope that individuals and organisations would put themselves in a position, so that they can make presentations to the Commission and provide us with their advice and perspectives as to the way forward,” he said.
Chairman of the Sugar Industry Commission of Enquiry, Professor Alvin Wint (right), addressing the media during the launch of the Commission at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hope Gardens, Tuesday (June 1). Also pictured from left are Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Donovan Stanberry (left) and Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton.
Professor Wint, who is Professor of International Business and Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of the West Indies (UWI), will be supported by two co-Commissioners – former Director of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Marjorie Henriques, and Director of Transactions and Crisis Management at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Wilfred Baghaloo. Retired Deputy Financial Secretary, Carol Jones, has also been appointed Secretary to the Commission.
He said the Commission will be consulting widely, in Jamaica, regionally and internationally, to garner important best practices that could be used as part of the new framework for the sugar industry.
“There are a number of areas where we feel we have underperformed as a country, and the only way we are going to move away from underperformance is by making appropriate changes and, certainly, this is an industry where change is required,” he noted.
“We think it’s an important industry, but an industry that is going to have to rethink the way that it operates, to ensure that it is able to survive in a very changed global environment,” he added.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton (left) responding to a question from the media during a press conference on Tuesday (June 1) at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Hope Gardens. Also pictured is Professor of International Business and Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Alvin Wint, chairman of the Sugar Industry Commission of Enquiry.
The Commission is expected to present its recommendations to the Government by September 30.
“All stakeholders and the general public will have an opportunity to participate in crafting the framework of a new industry, privately owned and fully diversified and, we all hope, prosperous for all concerned,” Dr. Tufton said.
Under the European Union’s (EU) Accompanying Measures for Sugar (AMS) programme, the Jamaican Government undertook to restructure the regulatory and institutional framework of the sector.
A review of the relevance of the current regulatory and pricing arrangements is part of the specific conditions for release of approximately 17 million Euros of EU grant funds during the financial year 2010-2011.
Earlier this year, Cabinet approved just over $15 million to defray the cost associated with the enquiry.