Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Donovan Stanberry, says there’s nothing underhand about the management of the 1-point-7 billion dollar Cane Expansion Fund.

In his budget presentation yesterday, Opposition Spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw, called for an audit of the European Union Sugar Transformation Programme.

He charged that farmers are no longer able to get loans under the programme because the Cane Expansion Fund had been severely depleted.

Mr. Stanberry is admitting the funds are depleted.

But he says that’s because loan payments from the farmers aren’t enough to satisfy the demand for more loans.

Mr. Stanberry says h e’s prepared to subject the programme to any level of scrutiny.

He says new applications are being accepted on a first-come first-serve basis, when funds become available from the reflows of loan payments.

Donovan Stanberry, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.