Should a Tax Be Imposed on Refined Imported Sugar?

A recent gleaner article was treated with sweet responses to the taxation of sugar, and salty responses from two versatile Government Ministers.Kellier and Hylton.

My long lost associate, Las Chin, and other members of the JMA were the protagonists joined by the Ministers of Industry and Commerce, pressing for more refined sugar taxes as best as they could , meaning  more  taxes to realize; and at the same time giving the Government a free hand on how to dispose of it.

What is wrong with this scenario? We need the production not the taxes; We need the impetus not the controversy: Once we sell the sugar, on each crop, there will be more taxes for the Government to use,( for whatever  contrived reason.}

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What has happened to the Jamaican refineries? Or have they been deserted? Has the sugar changed its flavour? Do we not refine sugar any longer? Apparently we don’t, we import refined sugar, and probably trade it, or use it ln place of the unrefined sugar, or somehow dispose of it.


With refined sugar offering little beyond empty calories, many people are seeking healthier ways to sweeten their menu. Sugar in the Raw, a brand of turbinado sugar, is one option that — per its name — might seem like a natural and nutritious alternative. Furthermore,  thedifferences between refined Sugar and Sugar in the Raw are minor, and their effects on your health are largely the same.

This year’s crop expected growth in all locally manufactured sugar-is somewhat disappointing by 15 tonnes, as 154,000 was the anticipated tonnage. The JCPS claims that “last year’s drought and this year’s rainfall has had an unfavourable effect on the sugar”. The last time drought and sun failed to grow a satisfactory product, was when the Lord asked Adam to leave Paradise. Three of the largest factories produced their highest ever production, with Appleton  at 33,000 tons, Worthy Park at 27,000 tons and Golden Grove 19,300 tons.

Other factories fell short of their targets significantly, Golden Grove 3,000 tons is mentionable, Pan Carib/ Money-musk, Long Pond Est-states by a marginal figure.

In most of their journey from field to table, refined Sugar and Sugar in the Raw undergo similar processing methods. Both sweeteners begin as sugar cane, which is first harvested and then crushed to separate the cane juice from the fibres of the plant. To strain out com the moisture and dark molasses, the juice is purified through several stages of filtration, evaporation, boiling and centrifuging.

The resulting sugar crystals are considered turbinado or “raw” sugar — the form sold as Sugar in the Raw. To transform raw sugar into refined table sugar, the product undergoes additional washing, filtering, processing and drying to remove impurities and strip away any remaining molasses colour or taste; but they look the same. Is there some deception going on at this point? It seems that the price of refined sugar to manufacturers is going down, and is being resold to groceries and retailers at a significant increase in margin.

So it would be good business to substitute imported refined sugar;Is this then the reason for the disagreementor distrust? There  is a financial advantage to any drink manufacturer, refusing the taxed sugar, which works out cheaper In the confusion.  Las Chin’s  position is not clear; In my interpretation Las  and all genuine manufacturers of sugar based beverages and products want the duty free sugar product, the raw or unrefined sugar.  Frankly, most factories are now organized to refine their own sugar, and should do so, and encourage Government to create incentives.

Government just wants more taxes, so they should look elsewhere, probably to those who are selling unrefined sugar at more than meets the eye. – Ramesh Sujanani©


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