MONTEGO BAY — Residents of Westmoreland, one of the country's major sugar belts, have been urged to desist from setting illicit fires to cane fields across the parish, as the industry is losing millions of dollars each year.
The call was made by Deputy Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar, Councillor Paul Wilson, as he addressed a sitting of the Parish Council, in Savanna-la-Mar, on November 10.
"I wish to let the citizens of Westmoreland and the general public know and understand that the sugar industry is the single largest employer of labour. We must therefore secure what’s left of the industry," he said.
Councillor Wilson pointed out that canes valued at some $32 million were destroyed by illicit fires two weeks ago.
Pointing out that there can be no rational for such behaviour, the Deputy Mayor appealed to persons who may have issues, to seek to take a different approach, rather than setting fires to cane fields.
"The owners and managers of the sugar estate are willing to sit down and discuss the matters with you. I have found them to be reasonable people. Remember, sugar production and the jobs it generate is the only major economic activity we have going on in the parish," he said.
"I say to all citizens in the parish, the sugar dollar affects us all… hence we cannot destroy the sugar industry. There is a better way we can sit and solve our problems, certainly not through illicit burning of canes," Councillor Wilson emphasised.
Overwhelming support for his call came from Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar, Councillor Bertel Moore and other Councillors of the Westmoreland Parish Council.
By Glenis Rose, JIS Reporter