Skel­dons sale can hurt rum in­dus­try

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Opinion - – CECIL L FIELDS

In the Sun­day Sun of Au­gust 19, 2018, there was an ad­ver­tise­ment seem­ingly placed by the gov­ern­ment of Guyana for the sale of a su­gar es­tate in that coun­try named Skel­don.

The ad stated that the gov­ern­ment was divest­ing it­self of the su­gar in­dus­try per se, and that Skel­don was one of four sim­i­lar es­tates that would be pri­va­tised.

The ad also de­tailed the com­po­si­tion of Skel­don – for ex­am­ple, its size was 11 900 hectares of cul­ti­vated land; the plant was a fully au­to­mated su­gar fac­tory with co­gen­er­a­tion ca­pa­bil­ity, and so on.

The stated ob­jec­tive of pri­vatis­ing the su­gar in­dus­try in Guyana should be of some con­cern to the pro­duc­ers of rum in Bar­ba­dos, as it is my un­der­stand­ing that as much of 90 per cent of the mo­lasses used to pro­duce rum here comes from Guyana.

In due course Guyanese mo­lasses will be­come more and more ex­posed to real mar­ket forces with re­gard to both avail­abil­ity and price, both of which may neg­a­tively im­pact our rum in­dus­try in the long term. Caveat emp­tor.

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