An Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate today charged that the multi-purpose sugar factory earmarked for Andrews, St Joseph had moved from being a “marginally viable project to not viable at all”.
And he is attributing the loss of viability to Government’s decision to include the St Lucia-incorporated Inter-Sugar Partnership Ltd (ISP) as project managers and principal advisors for the US$250 million Cane Industry Redevelopment Project (CIRP).
“As an entity, the company has not demonstrated experience in the agricultural sector or as project managers of heavy industrial instillations and constructions,” warned Dr William Duguid, who is seeking to recapture his old Christ Church West seat.
In a Barbados TODAY interview at his Pine Gardens, St Michael home, Dr Duguid called for a full-scale debate on the new multi-purpose sugar factory project, for which ISP is expected to receive a fee of $61.8 million.
Dr Duguid argued that the deal should not have been done in secret since it would bind the people of Barbados for many years to come.
Referring to a letter dated February 1, 2013, he also noted that Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick had given approval for the Barbados Cane Industry Corporation to enter immediately into a memorandum of understanding with ISP, appointing them as project managers and principal advisors for the CIRP.
However, he pointed out that before the introduction of the middleman, the project had shown a five per cent return, but with the introduction of the “middleman”, it had dropped to three per cent return.
The Christ Church West hopeful also raised concern that Government had agreed to pay $61.8 million to the Anthony DaSilva-led ISP for work, which he said had either already been done by BCIC or was no longer necessary.
The Opposition candidate further charged that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with ISP was in breach of the financial and audit rules of the country, charging that no tenders were produced but ISP had asked for an upfront payment of $450 000.
He therefore suggested that Government needed to “relook” the entire project, arguing that the country simply did not need such a large multi-purpose factory for an annual crop of merely 7, 000 tonnes of sugar.
When the project was first conceptualized, it was envisaged that it would have made a substantial contribution to the island’s overall economy in areas such as increased production of molasses for Barbados’ rum industry; the generation of green electricity fuelled by cane bagasse and sustainable locally produced biomass.