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Jan 14, 2015

Elrington Says Splinter Groups Can Deliver Cane

Wilfred Elrington

There has been some confusion as regards a court case in 2010, when other associations took legal action to fight for the right to deliver cane to the factory. That matter played out to an uncertain end – with both parties making concessions through a consent order. Government undertook to make amendments to the Act, effectively opening up the industry, at which point the associations would then withdraw their claim. Government never made those amendments, and with what seems like the imminent formation of splinter associations, it’s become somewhat of a sticky issue. Still, Prime Minister Dean Barrow has gone on record to state that even in the absence of the amendments, farmers have the right to form or join other associations. His colleague, who is also the Attorney-General, agrees.

 

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“Absolutely correct…as a matter of fact my brother Hubert took that action in 2010 on behalf of another organization that wanted to be representing farmers when dealing with the sugar industry. The legislation at the time was thought to have given monopoly to the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and the Court held that it had no monopoly, that any duly registered association could in fact treat with the millers. So he was absolutely, positively correct…as he usually is.”

 

Reporter

“Sir but that is where there is some contention, because some attorneys are saying that it wasn’t a Court order, it was a consent order. Could you clear that up for those of us who don’t know exactly what that means?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“Well let me clarify that, because again that is the intention of some of these people to misinform the nation. Any order which is made by the Court is a Court order. The Court makes orders in different ways. The Court can hear a matter and say I order that this is the case. Or when the parties go before the Courts they can each say to the Courts Judge we have agreed at this position. Can you put it into the form of an order for us, and the Court puts it into the form of an order. That is called a consent order. But it is also an order made by the Court with the consent of the parties. It’s an order of the Court which people then have to obey, on pain of contempt.”

 

Elrington says government did not obey that order because it was felt that it would weaken or even break up the B.S.C.F.A.  But of course, that stance has now changed, and Elrington has confirmed that G.O.B. does intend to push through amendments to the Sugar Act on Monday when the House convenes for the first sitting of 2015.

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