Barbados Government Ethanol Plan “Not Viable”
Three independent experts hired by the European Union and the Government of Barbados to assist Barbados with the restructuring of the sugar industry were fired when they each produced reports showing that Barbados government ethanol plans are technically and economically not viable.
A source tells Barbados Free Press that the Government of Barbados initially refused to accept the ethanol reports. One was sent back for “revisions” at least four times before the government “allowed” the EU report to be formally presented.
The EU sugar and ethanol experts were sent packing even though the original intent was to have them provide long-term assistance.
Apparently none of the experts were willing to compromise their integrity by fudging the truth throughout the entire project. As Bajans are well aware, such honesty is the death-knell for government employment in Barbados.
Which Ethanol Reports Were The Public Told About?
Our source states that the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister’s staff still have different versions of the various reports in their records, and that an examination would show that the reports were changed to better support government ethanol policies.
Barbados Free Press was shown three different versions of one of the Ministry of Agriculture’s internal reports. The original version mentions that a fleet of tanker trucks would be required to transport toxic and corrosive liquid waste from the proposed ethanol plant to the coast – for disposal offshore through a pipe and pumping station. The original report talks of the inadequate road system to support the thousands of tanker truck trips per month that would be necessary, and the obvious dangers to public safety, the environment – as well as the fact that the original government ethanol plan did not factor in the costs and risks associated with the disposal of this toxic waste.
Those facts are in the original report, but are watered down in the second version. All mention of tanker trucks is omitted from the final version of the report.
Accountability Avoided For Millions In EU Grants
Also according to our source, in late 2005 European Union Ambassador Amos Tincani received instructions from his superiors to “explain reality” to Prime Minister Owen Arthur about the EU’s determination to phase out sugar subsidies and also to require detailed accountability of a one-time 4 million dollar grant from the EU that was supposed to be used for re-development of our sugar industry.
The EU’s demands for accountability regarding the sugar grant millions caused a diplomatic face-off when Prime Minister Arthur and Minister of Agriculture Erskine Griffith went public in April and May of 2006 talking about callous “colonial” attitudes shown by the European Union.
Tincani’s Faux Pas
In fact, Prime Minister Arthur was incensed after Ambassador Tincani was overheard at a diplomatic function privately commenting that the EU was seeking to monitor how the 4 million dollar sugar grant would be spent because neither Tincani nor his superiors believed that the money would be used for it’s intended purpose. Tincani’s huge faux pas was that he was overheard joking that the sugar subsidy would end up “lining pockets” (of members of the Barbados government).
Our source states that Prime Minister Arthur was outraged when told about Tincani’s comments and the EU’s intent to attach accountability and monitoring structures as a condition of the 4 million dollar EU sugar grant. After Arthur ignored the EU Ambassador and went directly to big-ups in Europe, the EU reversed it’s position on accountability in order to avoid a diplomatic war over Tincani’s not-so-private comments.
Barbados Received The EU Funds… Where Are They Now?
In January of 2007, Barbados finally received $5.63 million in EU aid “to transform” the sugar industry, and the funds were provided without monitoring or accountability requirements – as reported by our source. (Nation News article here)
Perhaps Bajans will eventually learn how the funds were spent, but as our source says, “I wouldn’t bet on that pony.”