Damian Gough

The reason for the smuggling of sugar across the borders is because the sweet stuff is more expensive in the neighboring countries and offers agents a bigger profit margin. One suggestion is to increase the price of the sugar locally, making it less attractive to the Mexican and Guatemalan businessmen. According to Gough, itís worked in the past, but itís not the best idea in the current economic climate.

Via Phone: Damian Gough, Marketing Officer, B.S.I.

ďJust across the border in Chetumal, we understand based on information that is available to us that a pound of sugar sells for a dollar and forty cents. The controlled price here in Belize is roughly fifty cents. And so you have an opportunity to move sugar across the border because of those high prices, then you will do that. So for us, the ultimate solution to try to minimize or curb the high levels of cross border trade is to look at some way of maybe bringing up the price. I know that that isnít something that would be well received, given the economic climate, but on a strictly economic basis, that would at the end of the day be the ultimate solution. The current prices that are in place for sugar in Belize have been in place since 2000, thatís eleven years now. The last time we had this level of high contraband was in 1998-99 and the solution was to take the price up and when we did that we saw the contraband drop off considerably after that and that was the last time that the government of the day then allowed for a price increase in sugar.Ē

Delahnie Bain

ďSo is this something that we will see happening soon or is it a last resort type of thing?Ē

Via Phone: Damian Gough

ďItís something that has been discussed and for now has been agreed that it will not happened. But again, like I said, that is primarily because of the current economic conditions that weíre living under where everything is already pretty high priced. So for now itís not something that people can expect to see in the short or medium term but itís something that we would explore if we want to adequately curtail the high levels of cross border trade.Ē

B.S.I. is asking anyone with information on the illegal sugar trade to call the consumer protection hotline to help reduce the outflow.

Channel 5