PROCESSORS BEWARE, SAYS BEND

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Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Haynesley Benn

Processors who import fish for that purpose and then try to undercut legitimate vendors have been put on warning!

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Haynesley Benn, yesterday revealed that such persons were being closely monitored, and he urged them to “operate above sea level so that all will be well.”

The Minister, who was speaking following a presentation of funding by the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) to the national Fisheries Advisory Committee (FAC), said some persons, who appeared on the Ministry’s books as processors, were importing fish with the understanding that it would be used for processing, and they were therefore benefitting from duty-free concessions.

“They take that product and, rather than process it, offload it into the fresh market competing with those who import to sell and put themselves at an advantage. We have our eyes out, we are in discussion with customs and we will be taking appropriate action shortly,” he warned.

Additionally, Minister Benn called on persons who have “what used to be called boats”, stored in the boatyard at the Bridgetown Fisheries Complex, to remove them, since they were “taking up valuable space.”

Noting that the space would be needed for operational boats, in instances of hurricanes or bad weather, he underlined: “Persons who have sent dilapidated boats, ice-boats that no longer work and barges to be stored there must have them removed or we will do so and charge them a fee.”

The Agriculture Minister said the Ministry had already been contacting some of these individuals by telephone.

Mr. Benn told his audience, which included representatives of the fishing community that Government viewed the industry as key to the Barbados’ development and was looking forward to the establishment of cooperatives “where vendors, boat owners and …all who are involved in the industry could work together for the good of the country.”

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