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Dec 30, 2014

Farmer Seeks Order of Mandamus

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

And if you thought the situation in the sugar cane industry was complicated, an announcement late this evening makes that an understatement. At around five today Audrey Matura Shepherd, flanked by cane farmer Lucilo Teck and Finance committee chairman Javier Keme, broke the news that they had filed an application for mandamus in the court. They are seeking an order to force the SICB, government’s player in the industry, to declare a date for start of crop.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Attorney

“Today as Mr. Lucilo Teck had promised, he filed a mandamus at the Supreme Court and it is a mandamus in which we are asking the court…the application really is a leave to file a mandamus, because you have to get a leave first. So it is an application in which we are asking to court to give us leave so that we can bring an order of mandamus against the Sugar Industry Control Board who really by law should have set the date for the crop a long time ago. So what we are saying is let’s go to court, let’s ask the court to give us permission to bring this matter before the court so that we can get a date set for the crop once and for all, because lawfully, they should have done this long time ago. And since they don’t want to do what’s their function, we are compelling them to do it.”

 

Ezequiel Cansino

Ezequiel Cansino, Chairman, Committee of Management, B.S.C.F.A.

“I don’t know how it would work, but in that meeting, the prime minister said that he can put a date for the start of crop. But if B.S.I. doesn’t want to grind the cane, what he can d with B.S.I.? And the same thing can happen. If B.S.I. opens the gates and if the cane farmers don’t want to deliver the cane, what can happen?”

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“That is not true. The act, the section…section six one paragraph E clearly states that once the date is set, they must deliver and the factory must receive. So it is clear in the law; we are not making it up. It is unfortunate, however, that throughout this ordeal that it seems that a lot of people are not aware of what the law is and actually the power that they have in using the law to the benefit of the cane farmers. That is the sad situation with it. But we believe that with the mandamus, a lot of things will be cleared up. Hopefully, you never know, the board will see the wisdom in them carrying out their function and will proceed and set the date and then we will withdraw the matter before the court. But until then, because the farmers are being forced into an agreement that is really not in their favour, we need to show the farmers that it is not true that they were told that if they don’t sign there is no crop.”

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