Monday 23 November, 2020

Kamla promises return of sugar industry in T&T

Pictured: UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar holds up her index finger after voting in the 2019 Local Government Election.

Pictured: UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar holds up her index finger after voting in the 2019 Local Government Election.

Trinidad and Tobago could see a return of its once thriving sugar manufacturing business.

This, according to United National Congress (UNC) leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar who promised that her party will revive the sugar industry in T&T with the establishment of the Usine Ste Madeleine Sugar Manufacturing Facility.

The promise is one of the UNC’s 12 major ‘prosperity engines’ intended to “tackle neglect and abandonment of rural and poor urban communities”.

The UNC leader noted the establishment of this facility will see an end to the more than $300 million a year spent on the importation of sugar and sugar products since the closure of the Caroni (1975) Limited some 15 years ago.

She said private investors will be invited to establish a new state-of-the-art, cooperative sugar manufacturing company at Usine St. Madeleine.

“This new sugar company will purchase sugarcane grown by private farmers at market-based prices and will produce organic raw sugar and products like jaggery (a traditional non-centrifugal cane sugar consumed in Asia) for sale to the domestic and export markets.”

As part of the arrangement, investors will be required to fully finance the building of their sugar manufacturing plant.

Government, Persad-Bissessar said, will provide all the support needed to fast track the implementation of the investors’ plans, including land or tax incentives.

She added that Government will retain a minority equity position in the sugar manufacturing facility in exchange for any land provided.

Persad-Bissessar said: “A new UNC Government will resume its major focus on all-inclusive development of our abandoned, neglected and suffering rural and poor urban communities.”

She accused the Dr Keith Rowley-led Government of subjecting citizens from rural and poor, urban communities to endure “inequality, deliberate neglect and cruel abandonment by the State”.

The UNC leader noted that development plans, as outlined in the party’s National Economic Transformation Plan, will see the creation of 12 major prosperity engines throughout T&T.

These include the establishment of an East-West Biotechnology Manufacturing Corridor; the first locally branded Hotel Resort in Tobago; a digital Innovation Park at Sevilla; a Plymouth International Cruise Ship/Marina Complex; Point Galeota Energy Logistics Hub; West Port of Spain “Trinidad Creative Arts” Street; East Port of Spain Steelpan Manufacturing Facility; Brechin Castle Agro-Processing Complex; Tamana “Solar Tech” Renewable Energy Park; Cedros/Moruga Southwest Peninsula Economic Zone; Piarco Aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Operations Hub.

The proposed Cedros/Moruga/Mayaro Economic Zone will be equipped with a commercial services port; agro-processing facilities for coconut, rice, hot peppers, pineapple and cocoa products; eco-tourism facilities; real estate development and housing and other business activities.

These plans, Persad-Bissessar said, will mobilise and engage the local and international private sectors, and enable economic diversification and recovery, and much needed job creation.

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