Thu | Dec 5, 2019

Shaw not backing down despite threats

Published:Friday | September 14, 2018 | 9:47 AMChristopher Sergu

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw has vowed to continue his efforts to stamp out the corruption in the importation of processed sugar, despite a warning that he could be in danger because of his stance.

“You know what someone told me one time? ‘Watch yourself you know, Mr Shaw. Mr Shaw, watch yourself you know. This is big business and big money. Your life could be in danger’.

“I am saying it publicly, people are telling me that if I rock this boat too much, my life would be in danger. Well so be it!” declared Shaw as he delivered the keynote address at the third post crop seminary hosted by the Sugar Industry Authority (SIA) at his Kendal Road-based research station in Mandeville, Manchester, yesterday.

According to Shaw, he wasn’t the only person under threat from the actions of these unnamed corrupt persons.

“Thousands of people’s lives are already being compromised. The future of the sugar industry is virtually being compromised and I am to sit around as minister, cower in a corner, saying that I am protecting my life and allow a few greedy people to wreck what remains of the sugar industry in Jamaican? Unacceptable,” added Shaw at the function which was held under the theme ‘The Future of the Jamaican Sugar Industry’.

Shaw used the opportunity to appeal to the public as well as industry stakeholders to do their civic duty to protect the thousands of livelihoods which are dependent on the sugar industry.

“I am just saying to everybody who knows or sees anything that you know is wrong and is compromising this industry, you have a duty and a responsibility to get that information to me as fast as possible (at) or whatsapp me at (876) 336-2245.

“Because let me tell you something, if we don’t grab a hold of our country and grab a hold of our future, we all going have to run away lef’ it. You hear weh I tell you? Run weh and leave it up to the scammers, and leave it up to people who don’t put the country first and put its citizens first but put their own selfish and corrupt ends first.”

Shaw defended his decision not to share the evidence of abuse by unscrupulous persons with the security forces as he said he is instead opting to rely on moral suasion as a practical solution.

“Every time they say: ‘Mr Shaw, if you know, just bring the evidence’, well I am working on that too, but what I am asking for, what would be better, is if we are going to be transparent and we are going to be honest. Let us just come and whoever doing it now, just stop it and let’s just have a fair and clean and transparent system. Isn’t that a reasonable request?”

Shaw then went on to admit that the Jamaica Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association had been very responsive to his efforts to partner on this vexing issue but insisted they need to do more.

“I verily believe that the majority of them are in the clear but they must help to find the culprits who are abusing the privilege and causing a situation where what we’re producing in Jamaica we can’t even sell,” said Shaw.