Chinese investor says Jamaica sugar sector laced with corruption

(Jamaica Gleaner) A Chinese investor in Jamaica’s sugar sector has leveled serious allegations against several players in the industry.

According to Francis Hehanqi, the deputy chief executive officer of Pan Caribbean Sugar Company Limited, the local sugar sector has been overrun with corruption, bureaucracy, abuse of power and abuse of money.

According to Hehanqi, the corruption, bureaucracy, abuse of power and abuse of money have long been features of the Jamaican sugar sector.

But Hehanqi say his entity – Pan Caribbean Sugar Company – has come to change that.

Hehanqi says with that will also come higher prices for farmers supplying cane.

Hehanqi was speaking at a ceremony today for the signing of an agreement allowing his company to market the sugar milled at the Monymusk, Frome and Bernard Lodge factories.

Previously, locally sugar had to be sold to the Jamaica Cane Products Sales, which would then sell it to European markets.

But with Pan Caribbean recently buying the state-owned Monymusk, Frome and Bernard Lodge factories it wants full control over the sale of the sugar it produces at the factories.

Hehanqi has described as painstaking the negotiations with Government entities for Pan Caribbean Sugar Company to get the right to sell its own sugar.

Cane farmers had raised concern that such an arrangement could disrupt the current system under which Jamaica Cane Products Sales does all the sale and delivery of sugar to Europe.

But Hehanqi is promising refreshing changes with the entry of Pan Caribbean into the market.

He says he will be holding talks with the All-Island Jamaica Cane Farmers Association so that all registered farmers will get better payment their cane.

The agriculture minister, Roger Clarke, later told The Gleaner that the claims by Hehanqi were “unfortunate”.

According to Clarke, the current systems are very transparent.

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