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Jan 30, 2009

Strike puts cane season on hold… indefinitely

Story PictureThere is strong talk coming tonight from the Belize Cane Farmers Association in day four of a strike involving three entities in the sugar cane industry and the introduction of a new pricing mechanism. Word to News Five late this evening is that the Cane Farmers Association has upped the ante as three meetings with the Sugar Industry Control Board and Belize Sugar Industries Limited have been unable to reach any amicable resolution to the crisis. The association earlier in the week requested that S.I.C.B. and B.S.I. suspend use of the core sampler which is testing the quality of cane for pricing. And after many days of strike, the Cane Farmers Association today decided to put the seven week cane season on hold indefinitely. This is a drastic move that is bound to seriously impact the industry and can have weighty economic repercussions. C.E.O. for the Association, Carlos Magana, explains.

Voice of Carlos Magana, C.E.O., Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Assn.
“A vote was taken by the throughout assembly that there is an indefinite stop until the core sampler is removed.”

Duane Moody
“What is the effect that it is going to have on BSI and basically the Sugar Industry?”

Voice of Carlos Magana
“I don’t want to comment on that right now, that’s why we need to have a meeting on Sunday morning or Saturday tomorrow night to be able to determine the economic impact that it is going to have and also make an economic—dual assessment. One, what would be the impact if it continues through the crop and two what is the economic impact it is suffering right now.”

Duane Moody
“And this is going to stay basically as norm until something is done right?”

Voice of Carlos Magana
“Exactly, exactly.”

Duane Moody
“Do you feel that what you guys are doing now will sway their minds?”

Voice of Carlos Magana
“Whose minds?”

Duane Moody
“S.I.C.B. and B.S.I. because who’s the person that implemented…”

Voice of Carlos Magana
“I don’t think so because they came out and gave their position also and I don’t think so. It is still going to be a tough negotiation and the position of the association at this time is suspension of the cane season. We will no longer call for negotiations; they will have to call us to negotiate now.”

Cane delivery has now come to a complete halt at the Tower Hill Sugar Mill. We’ll keep you posted on future developments in the industry.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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