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Oct 4, 2010

Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association fires the new C.E.O.

Almost a year ago, Carlos Magana, the former strongman in the Belize Cane Farmers Association was unceremoniously dumped and replaced by David Madrid. Madrid signed a three year contract and last Friday Madrid, like Magana, was fired from his post as the CEO of the BSFCA, only nine months after he got the job. Madrid says he received the letter, signed by five directors of the Committee of Management informing him that his termination was effective immediately. The committee claims that he was not performing his duties, particularly in the case of the Fertilization Program and the agreement with Belize Sugar Industries Limited for the supply of bagasse. But Madrid told News Five that the committee is blaming him for their own shortcomings.

David Madrid, Former CEO, BSCFA

david madrid

“The fertilization program, they’re stating that the discontent in July was because I didn’t process the fertilizer process quickly enough. I responded to them in that they’ve never allowed me to have the proper people hired because only they can hire and fire. The person that they did hire was a project officer and they only wanted to give her twenty-five hundred dollars a month for a six million dollar project. I said I need not only a senior project officer, I need to field project officers. They refused and so they got exactly what they paid for, a twenty-five hundred project who could not do the work.

The other allegations is regarding an agreement with the bagasse. For the last seven years they had an agreement and each year the association should be looking at that agreement and renegotiating. If you don’t renegotiate it, it rolls over. This has to be done by the committee of management. In the last six years, they have never ever looked at the agreement; it always just rolled over. But now that the Bagasse is there, they said that I didn’t hire a consultancy or chief negotiator. I’ll give that gentleman’s name, Oscar Alonzo from Belmopan. We have him under contract, the association. He has been paid over ten thousand dollars so far, yet they say I didn’t do that. That’s a done deal.”

Madrid also says that he wasn’t given a chance to respond to the allegations before being fired, as is legally required.

Madrid is making allegations of his own against the Committee of Management. He claims that the committee directors recently held a secret meeting and signed a deal with a fertilizer company, going against what was initially agreed by the association. And while the Sugar Industry has been knee deep in controversy for some time, Madrid told us he maintained good relations with the directors up until July twenty-fifth when the farmers held a special meeting and passed a vote of no confidence, stripping all eighteen members of salaries and allowances. According to Madrid, the directors threatened to fire him on several occasions when he refused to endorse their misdeeds.

David Madrid

“The Committee of Management expected me to go to the farmers and lie to them and tell them that they are still doing their work. I refused. I said I work for the farmers not for the Committee of Management. Since they are not receiving any type of allowances, they became quite, quite mad to the point that they were threatening me; “because you didn’t get us our money, we will terminate your services”. I said based on what? I can prove all the work I’ve done for the association.

Not only that, just three weeks ago, the Committee of Management went down to Stann Creek for an all paid weekend, paid by Bilagro. None of the farmers nor myself knew of this trip. Yet on the herbicides—we’ve already given away four million dollars in free fertilizer to the farmers—contracts were won by San Isidro and Bilagro. Within the first contract, we had it stipulated and I have the documents at home in writing, that San Isidro would receive fifty percent of the project and Bilagro would. The Committee of Management chose to go down and sign the contract with Bilagro and actually took ten percent from San Isidro and gave it to Bilagro.

When they went down for the secret meeting, it looked very suspicious and I approached the Committee of Management. I told them it was unprofessional, it was unheard of that you guys would go down there and—because they are also up for two million dollars of herbicide that is about to proceed. They were irate with that, that I would even approach them and their statement to me was “Madrid, we are your boss and we don’t report to anybody, including the farmers. I took issue with that and said you guys represent the farmers, I work for the farmers, I cannot let this go. Their response was “We’ll take care of you. Don’t worry about that Mr. Madrid.”

Madrid also claims he reduced the association’s debt from five million to one point eight million dollars and restored Fair-trade certification after it was suspended in 2009 following an audit that revealed gross mismanagement and financial irregularities. He is suing the BSCFA for damages and to secure the benefits from the remainder of his three year contract.

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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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5 Responses for “Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association fires the new C.E.O.”

  1. GUINEA GRASS Observer says:

    why didn’t Mr. Madrid made this public before??? why wait until being fired to reveal the modus operandi of the Committee of Management???

  2. madaras says:

    You have wah JOB guinea grass? The man do what he had with the resources provided, again they were throwing stones so, di man throw wah two back…

    Yo get weh yo pay fah………

  3. Jer says:

    No wonder the sugar industry is in such a mess. I got some questions to put to you the reading populace. Can you explain why just recently an economist couldn’t do his job? Now can you explain why just after nine months Madrid couldn’t do his job? And this one is not known in the media but an accountant as well left after a short span of employment. Is it a conicidence that the two CEO’s and an accountant “made up stories”. The accountant told me why he left but i leave it up to you out there to ponder. Is it that this hiring and firing squad is so high and mighty? Is it that no one can go in and open their “pandora’s box”? If they cant find a good “puppet” why dont one of them take up the post? Is it that they need a “good honest” scapegoat? Is it only the CEO’s and accountants actions questionable? Got more but lets see a response. Cane farmers you all got to wake up and see the writing on the wall. Got a little observation to make: When Novelos was placed in receivership it was a free for all, grabbings. Nova when they went bottoms up it was like the same situation, grabbings. Canefarmers BSI no really need sugar to survive now. They only interested in trash thats why it was said some time ago that sugar is not sweet anymore. Does the cane farmers association share that same sentiment? Suga no sweet no mo? Is the industry going bottoms up hence “grabbings?” Guinea grass observer, please observe more carefully.

  4. Carlos says:

    They need the core sampler back so there would be no more thieves!!!!!

  5. Jose Guerra Sr says:

    Mr madrid its sad when these thing happend, people always try to abuse teir power and if it means hurting someone they do that and thats whats happening to you budy its sad. Let me tell you a story a friend went to the barber shop for a hair cut, they charge 12 us here well he only had six dollars and said that to the stylist she responded by saying have a seat a while after said to the guy there you go, he looked into the mirror and saw only one side was cut straight down the middle he got ma and ask why . Well of course she said thats for the six dollars come back with the other six then i finish, well thats what they got where you were what they paid for now trying to blame you. Come on you guys you cant expect to reap corn and plant rice,

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