PM Arthur Says EU Wants “Total Abandonment Of Barbados Sugar Cane Agriculture”

From The Barbados Advocate

Saying that Caribbean countries must accept the inevitable phasing out of preferences and the need to adjust our economies, Prime Minister Owen Arthur nevertheless stated that the region was concerned with the callous manner in which the transition is being managed.

Speaking during the opening of the fifth UK/Caribbean Forum yesterday at the Barbados Hilton, he said that this action was witnessed last November with "the instant and unilateral evisceration of the Sugar Protocol."

He noted, "In the case of Barbados, we have in fact already started to develop new activities as we diversify around our dominant sector, sugar, as suggested by the Commission, but our exchanges to date with EU officials have left us in no doubt that the prescription they would ideally like to impose upon us is the total abandonment of sugar cane agriculture."

"For reasons such as this the Caribbean may be forgiven if it holds the view that there is unfortunately little sign of genuine dialogue towards the most viable and mutually acceptable transition arrangements", he continued…

Our Comments…

Of course the U.K. and the European Union want "total abandonment of sugar cane agriculture" – because for decades they have been paying Barbados way over the world price for sugar as a subsidy.

In better times, "charitable" or "national interest" subsidies might have been an easier sell to Europe and especially to citizens of the United Kingdom – especially with the friendly relationship that Barbados and the U.K. previously shared.

But Mr. Prime Minister… do you really expect U.K. citizens to happily continue to subsidize Barbados when they often see their Monarchy, the Queen or a young Prince being publicly insulted in the media by the Prime Minister of Barbados? Do you really think the average Brit hears the Prime Minister of Barbados insult the Crown and then says, "Oh we had better send some more sugar subsidy to Barbados then" ?

Yard fowls do come home to roost occasionally, so be polite on the world stage, Mr. Prime Minister. Its called "diplomacy".

If Barbados wants to become a republic, we can achieve our goals without having our leadership going out of the way to insult or denigrate old allies and valuable trading partners.

11 Comments

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11 responses to “PM Arthur Says EU Wants “Total Abandonment Of Barbados Sugar Cane Agriculture”

  1. ross

    Does anyone remember the World Bank telling Barbados that we should put our land to the use that generates the most money? Or did I dream that?

  2. Comment Maker

    truthfully we lose money on sugar that we sell to the EU anyway. It used to be valuable as a source of foreign exchange but these days it would be better to sell it locally.

    All the same I guess one has to make the required protests šŸ˜‰

  3. ross

    Yes, in the absense of an opposition.

  4. …. The EU wants Barbados to abandon sugar all together, Barbados wants to keep sugarcane production to produce ethanol.

    Is the EU really calling for the abandonment of “Sugar Cane” in that we should not even grow it?

    …The EU has destroyed the sugar industry in the Caribbean, by producing sugar from Beets etc, flooding the market, and subsidizing their production.

    Could i assume that they are taking the position on forcing the abandoning sugar cane growing on us, in an effort to remove competition to their own revamping and retooling of their Beet root to produce ethanol?

  5. John

    Owen Arthur is a politician.

    You actually believe him?

    Sugar was being extracted from Beet Root since the 1800’s. Yet cane and Beet Root have existed for a long time side by side as sources of sugar.

    There is a bit more in this mortar.

    Assume nothing, question!!

  6. Barbados might want to follow the example of Brazil and use the sugar for ethanol.

    The race for oil is on, and it appears China will be the big oil winner, making deals with anyone and everyone.

    India is also in the race, and the U.S. will just have to make do with whatever the market dictates, or use military action (as this administration is prone to do).

    So, the safe bet is to hold on to your sugar cane!

    By the way, congratulations on your site statistics.

  7. Hi Linda….glad that you are in the camp of holding on to sugar cane agriculture in an attempt to produce ethanol. I gave a little credit to the GoB for attemptin this strategy, but others cannot see any good in this or maybe it is that they cannot see any good in the GoB.

  8. John

    Check out the article in the Nation by Ezra Alleyne entitled ā€œThe New Sugarā€ and think for a moment what this strategic vision does for the Sugar Cane Industry.

    http://archive.nationnews.com/archive_detail.php?archiveFile=./pubfiles/bar/archive/2006/February/10/Editorial/15295.xml&start=20&numPer=20&keyword=ezra+alleyne&sectionSearch=&begindate=1%2F1%2F1994&enddate=5%2F1%2F2006&authorSearch=&IncludeStories=1&pubsection=&page=&IncludePages=1&IncludeImages=1&mode=allwords&archive_pubname=Daily+Nation%09%09%09

    The Industry needs land.

    It is a fact that you can count the number of fields of Sugar Cane on one hand if you go to St. James.

    St. Andrew has one, perhaps two fields in cane.

    St. Thomas in the high rainfall area has perhaps one or two plantations still growing Sugar Cane.

    There is a good chance that St. Peter and St. Lucy will also be in the same boat as St. James soon. Black Bess is supposed to be a Golf course too.

    Much of St. Michael and Christ Church is under housing.

    The Sugar Cane growing parishes are St. John, St. Joseph, St. George and parts of St. Philip. The new sugar threatens all of these as well. You can see the arable land conversions to housing if you just look.

    Wake up. Go and look!!

    Of course anyone in their right minds would want to see Sugar Cane retained in Barbados but actions speak louder than words.

    It is a complete waste to build a new sugar factory if the political directorate fools around with our land resource as it is doing.

  9. Jake

    Uk citiziens oppose the monarrchy it is a fascist institution, of feudalism, and evil. The British Labour Party is almost wholly Republican in beliefs of members, as it supports equality, If Barbados became a republic, it would be seen as a great nation in Britain, If it does not it will be a disgrace

  10. BK

    additionally I believe that maintaining the sugar cane industry protects a stratum of Barbadian unskilled workers that if we judge the opportunity costs of those 3000 workers becoming a burden on the state; well I think you get my point.

  11. Doug

    I watched them abandon sugar cane on Hawaii,only to see the old sugar workers left hanging with lost pride and good income.Now they are talking about ethanol production,which ,without much analysis will prove to be invaluable.
    Now the great white (greedy) fathers are proposing the same thing for Barbados.The need for energy will outpace the need for hotel rooms because people will not be able to travel to Barbados with fuel becoming outrageously valued.
    Smell the roses,preserve a great resource plan on increasing sugar production.And consider making more turbinado sugar and pure raw sugar for increasingly health conscious populations.Smell the molasses.
    Doug Hertel(a many times visitor to BDS.)