Category Archives: Sugar

US Ambassador to Barbados, 2006: Owen Arthur’s sugar decision “defies logic and sours prudent budget”

Barbados EU Sugar Aid

Sugar is over, finished…

With the recent revelation that the Government-owned Barbados Agricultural Management Company left 1000 acres of cane to rot in the fields – and that our country’s total 2015 sugar harvest might not reach even 10,000 tonnes, BFP re-blogs this post.

It’s time to leave sugar behind. It is a deep, dark hole that sucks money and energy from this nation. None of our children will cut cane or pick cotton, and the cost of Barbados sugar production is the highest in the world.

It’s over folks. It’s over.

Almost ten years ago, BFP asked Prime Minister Owen Arthur about his plan for sugar…

Remind me… what was the Barbados government plan to replace the sugar revenues?

Oh ya… I remember now…

1/ Beg the Europeans for money – playing upon white man’s guilt.

2/ Sell the rest of the island to foreigners.

Ya… good plan, Owen!

Barbados Free Press

“Instead of pouring more money into sugar, the Government of Barbados would be better served letting the industry die a peaceful death, as St. Kitts did in 2005.”

“This massive investment in the sugar industry defies logic and sours an otherwise prudent budget.”

“Sugar is so intrinsic to their national identity, however, that Barbadian taxpayers apparently support this fiscal profligacy.”

Mary Kramer, US Ambassador to Barbados, January 27, 2006

WikiLeaks just released a massive new treasure trove of US Embassy Bridgetown previously secret cables.

We’re looking at many of them in our article WikiLeaks: Massive release of Barbados US Embassy documents. You can help too by going to WikiLeaks Embassy Bridgetownpage and digging in!

But we’re going to post this cable on its own because it makes for very interesting reading.

Considering our current economic situation, Barbados Labour Party supporters will jump right on this cable as vindication…

View original post 2,096 more words

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Filed under Barbados, Economy, Sugar

Sheri Veronica – As school children in Barbados we were taught to hate Jamaicans

Sheri Veronica Barbados

“Respect Jamaicans”

by Sheri Veronica

THE TRUTH IS, we were taught to hate JAMAICANS.  As a little girl in primary school, our teacher taught us that Barbados was the jewel of the Caribbean.  We were taught that any mad/crazy slave or any slave who could not take instructions, were shipped off to Jamaica.  This was the mandate, I supposed in my little head (or was that taught to me also), of every Caribbean island.  Send the mad and **aggressive slaves to Jamaica.  Then as time passed and you start to see clearer, meet people and question things, you soon realize that the insurgent slaves were the brave ones.  They were the men and women who could not be broken…

… continue with a good read at Sheri Veronica’s blog

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Jamaica, Race, Slavery, Sugar

Bajans pick cotton, cut sugar cane twenty years from now? Let’s get real!

Does Barbados really have a cotton industry?

Cotton industry ‘revamp’ same talk we’ve heard for 40 years

submitted by Bleeding Hands

Barbados takes pride in our educated population and in our status as an ‘almost’ developed nation. The recent economic setbacks might have pushed us back a step or two, but this is a worldwide phenomena not exclusive to our country. Bajans should be proud of what we have achieved together in the last four decades.

One of the social changes brought about by our development and increased education, however, is that few if any of our young people aspire to jobs or business ownership in agriculture and especially not in agricultural sectors reminiscent of the plantation era of our history. If one could grow tomatoes or other food crops and make a decent living that is one thing: sugar and cotton are another world entirely in the minds of bajans and for good reason. Aside from the unprofitable nature of the those two crops, sugar and cotton have historical baggage that young bajans want nothing to do with and I cannot blame them.

Despite the unemployment on this island, Barbados has to import labour from other countires to work our sugar and cotton industries. That is because our population rejects the work, and they reject it because they have been conditioned to reject it – and also it pays nothing or next to nothing. Continue reading

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Cotton, Economy, Sugar

Bajan-Brit author Andrea Stuart: Britain still in denial about British slavery

UPDATED: August 10, 2012 – Andrea Stuart’s book now listed for sale

To be the descendant of Barbadian slaves and white British sugar plantation owners is an extraordinary legacy, for it means that one side of your family once owned the other. But that is the strange inheritance that Andrea Stuart discovered when she began to investigate her family history…

Read a new account in Mail Online and purchase Sugar in the Blood: A family’s story of Slavery and Empire

“I think that in Britain there’s still a degree of denial or an unwillingness to really confront the back story of British slavery and so on. So there’s a sense of it being something that happened sometime a long time ago in some far away place, rather than realizing that the British colonies were, at that point, Britain, that they were British territories and the connection between the colonies and Britain is incredibly intimate. Not something that happened far away and a long time ago, but something that happened in Britain in the world of British life and something that still has repercussion today, and I think that’s the thing that, as a culture, Britain hasn’t quite come to terms with.” Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Slavery, Sugar

You can’t make a meal out of Barbados sugar. What fools we are.

Our old friend Colin Beadon posted the following lament about our agricultural failures in our Open Discussion section early Saturday morning. Colin’s post came just as we were reading comments from the US Ambassador to Barbados that our government’s support of sugar “defies logic.”

Here’s the thing, folks… We can’t profitably grow sugar cane for any purpose, whether for foreign or domestic sale, for food products or fuel. We used to do it, but the world changed and we can’t do it now. We’ve shown we can no longer do it.

But we can take that land and commit to growing foods that we can eat and market profitably. Food and water are in some ways, the new oil. (Photo by Shona)

Here’s what Colin had to say…

What utter Fools we are.

On the BBC 26th August.

” If you want to do well in coming times, become a farmer. For the best Expectations, go Far East.”

The number one growing problem in the world, is fast becoming one of Food. There seems to be a little staggering towards this realization in Barbados, at last, that something must be done with agriculture in a big way. There are those of us who have been constantly screaming about it, but our voices are now hoarse, and age has taken away our insistence.

But ”One day, one day, Congotay. That’s what the old people say.” Will the true revival of Barbadian agriculture come too late? Will we really ever start eating our own grown and raised food again, where we have control of what pesticides and what forms of fertilizers we use ?

There are so many great farmers, all over the world, suffering war, and drought, and all forms of persecution, and here we have land, going to useless waste, with good rainfall, and mostly mild conditions, and we have to import 90% of our food requirements. What utter fools, fools, fools we are.

Colin Beadon

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Sugar

US Ambassador to Barbados, 2006: Owen Arthur’s sugar decision “defies logic and sours prudent budget”

“Instead of pouring more money into sugar, the Government of Barbados would be better served letting the industry die a peaceful death, as St. Kitts did in 2005.”

“This massive investment in the sugar industry defies logic and sours an otherwise prudent budget.”

“Sugar is so intrinsic to their national identity, however, that Barbadian taxpayers apparently support this fiscal profligacy.”

Mary Kramer, US Ambassador to Barbados, January 27, 2006

WikiLeaks just released a massive new treasure trove of US Embassy Bridgetown previously secret cables.

We’re looking at many of them in our article WikiLeaks: Massive release of Barbados US Embassy documents. You can help too by going to WikiLeaks Embassy Bridgetown page and digging in!

But we’re going to post this cable on its own because it makes for very interesting reading.

Considering our current economic situation, Barbados Labour Party supporters will jump right on this cable as vindication for Owen Arthur’s financial expertise. Aside from the sugar criticism, Ambassador Kramer gives a glowing report of Prime Minister Owen Arthur.

I don’t know about you, but I think that Ambassador Kramer was correct about our sugar industry: we might as well throw money into the sea than to keep flogging that dead horse.

Some quotes and then the full cable after the break…

What US Ambassador Kramer thought of Owen S. Arthur and his January 16, 2006 budget

“1. (SBU) Summary:  Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur presented his government’s 2006 economic and financial policies in a January 16 speech to parliament.  PM Arthur pledged to lower energy costs, cut taxes, boost pensions, and prop up manufacturing.  Most of the budget seems practical and will not greatly increase the country’s debt (around 88.0 percent of GDP).  The only major imprudent expenditure is a US$150 million investment into the island’s unprofitable sugar industry.  End Summary.”

With the parliamentary opposition in disarray (septel), a confident PM Arthur announced tax cuts, incentives to reduce energy costs, increased government investment in the sugar industry, loosened foreign exchange controls, and investment incentives.”

“4. (U) Barbados has prudently kept its government spending in check over the past few years, and Arthur said the fiscal deficit for the 2005-2006 fiscal year (ending in March 2006) will likely be just 1.7 percent of GDP, less than the target of 2.5 percent of GDP.”

“7. (SBU) According to a senior Bajan official, PM Arthur, an economist by training, cloisters himself away from his officefor several weeks to focus on the national budget, even refusing to meet high level visitors.  (Note:  General Craddock of SOUTHCOM visited during Arthur’s budget preparations and the Prime Minister declined to meet with the General.  End Note.)

8. (SBU) At the Embassy’s Martin Luther King Jr. reception, Dr. Marion Williams, Governor of the Central Bank, hinted to EconOff that she did not agree with many of the Prime Minister’s measures to liberalize foreign exchange controls.”

“Wasting Money on Sugar
———————-

9. (U) PM Arthur announced plans for a US$150 million facility including a 30 megawatt power plant and sugar cane processing facilities…

… Even at 523.7 Euros/ton, Barbados loses money on every ton of sugar it exports.  According to Erskine Griffith, the Barbados Minister of Agriculture, the Barbados yield ratio of 21 tons of sugar per acre of sugar cane is, “the lowest of any sugar producing nation.”  Griffith went on to say that producers in Brazil get up to 80 tons per acre…

…(Note: Guyanese sugar products are also imported in large quantities
to produce “Barbadian” rum.  End Note.)  Barbados cannot protect its local sugar market from CARICOM competition, given the free movement of goods provisions of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.  The government apparently will depend on nationalism to induce people to pay twice as much for local sugar as imported sugar…

11. (SBU) This massive investment in the sugar industry defies logic and sours an otherwise prudent budget.  The cost of producing sugar on a small island with high labor costs and limited mechanization is astronomically higher than in Brazil or other major sugar producers.  Barbados is probably
one of the least efficient sugar producers in the world and cannot compete within CARICOM, much less on the world market.”

“Instead of exporting bulk sugar to the European Union at inflated prices, Barbados will be selling its sugar domestically at inflated prices.  Sugar is so intrinsic to their national identity, however, that Barbadian taxpayers apparently support this fiscal profligacy.

12. (SBU) The true purpose of the US$150 million investment is not to protect the environment or to reduce energy costs, but to give sugar a future.  If Barbados were serious about protecting the environment and reducing its energy import bill, then the country could more cheaply accomplish both these goals by importing sugar cane ethanol from Brazil.

No matter what use for sugar cane Barbados comes up with, almost every other sugar producing country can grow it cheaper, harvest it cheaper, and process it cheaper.  Instead of pouring more money into sugar, the Government of Barbados would be better served letting the industry die a peaceful death, as St. Kitts did in 2005.  End Comment.”

FULL CABLE Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Politics, Sugar

Are these Barbados plantations still receiving an agriculture rebate on their Land Tax?

Sugar cane was once like gold or oil

To our knowledge, each of the following plantations are not in any meaningful agricultural production, or have been given over to housing or commercial activities. Are they still receiving an agricultural rebate on their land taxes?

Exchange Plantation, St Thomas
Alleynedale Plantation, St Peter Continue reading

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Sugar