Concerns about illicit cane field fires in Jamaica
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica, Wednesday November 16, 2011 - Residents of the southern parish of Westmoreland - one of the country's major sugar belts - have been urged to stop setting illicit fires to cane fields, which is causing millions of dollars in damages each year.
The call has been made by Councillor Paul Wilson, the Deputy Mayor of the parish capital Savanna-la-Mar, who has pointed out that canes valued at some JMD$32 million (US$ 374, 000) were destroyed by illicit fires two weeks ago.
"I wish to let the citizens of Westmoreland and the general public know and understand that the sugar industry is the single largest employer of labour. We must therefore secure what’s left of the industry," he said.
The Deputy Mayor said there could be no rational for such behavior.
He also appealed to people with concerns to use a different approach rather than deliberately setting fires to cane fields.
"The owners and managers of the sugar estate are willing to sit down and discuss the matters with you,” he noted.
“I have found them to be reasonable people. Remember, sugar production and the jobs it generate is the only major economic activity we have going on in the parish," he said.