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Feb 9, 2011

Temporary shutdown of Tower hill Factory is set for this Thursday

As we told you at the top of the newscast, the temporary shut-down of the Tower Hill Factory is set for this Thursday. Grinding is expected to come to a halt for three to four weeks in the first instance which is likely to extend the 2011 crop into the rainy season. Even if production targets are met, the closure will have a direct financial impact on the farmers and their families. News Five’s Marion Ali reports from Tower Hill.

Jose Rodriguez, Chairman, B.S.C.F.A., Orange Walk

Jose Rodriguez

“They should have had a back-up plan, Plan B. they have a Plan A only. They do have a plan B in itself—they have two turbines—they were depending on another turbine noh, but the other turbine is giving the same trouble. So plan A, plan B is going down.”

The Chairman of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, Orange Walk branch, Jose Rodriguez, was critical of the operational failure at the Belize Sugar Industries Limited’s BELCOGEN project – both at the mechanical and administrative levels.

The situation is that for the next three to four weeks, or more, the two new turbines that were introduced only a year or so ago, have both collapsed.  To get things back to normal, it will require a total shutdown of business at Tower Hill to bring in experts to identify the problem and to correct it.

The setback will cause the 2011 sugar crop to extend well beyond its usual closing time.  While the country and the market will not be short-changed in terms of revenues the crop will earn, nor in terms of the availability of that sweet stuff most of us have as a staple on dining tables, those that stand to suffer are the ones who toil in the fields.

Jose Rodriguez, Chairman

“We know the life of the farmer’s life, especially the cutters, their lives are not easy, it’s a hard job and some of them really depend on cutting. It will affect them.   Part of the income they are having or salary, they won’t be having that for three weeks.”

And the drivers and cutters we met waiting to deliver their cane were relaxing in the shade near Tower Hill, but their minds were not at ease.

Cane Truck Driver

“We noh wah got job fi three weeks and thing wah get slow. Thing just mi di pick up and ih just wah get slow pan we like that.”

Balbino Batun, Cane Farmer

Balbino Batun

“If this wah stop fi two three weeks that wah affect we wah lot and we have to find weh part fi goh fi work fi two three weeks because we got family fi maintain.”

Candelario Guzman

Candelario Guzman, Cane Farmer

“If they stop, when the rain come, ih wah affect we because right now we deh pan the purity, we noh deh pan the ton of cane we di bring. If this affect we…when the rain come, that wah affect we because if ih rain wah, the cane draw lot of water and then ih noh wah got the amount ah purity weh ih suppose to got.”

For the meantime, cane farmers and their workers have been advised to stop cutting and burning cane for processing and only those truckloads that had already been harvested were accepted today.  The sudden stoppage is not a welcomed occurrence, but Rodriguez says the Association and the members are hoping that everything goes as planned to cross this hurdle in as little time as possible.

Jose Rodriguez

“It will delay crop a lot. Let’s hope the weather keeps up with us.”

B.S.I. issued a release this evening in which it explains how the problem came about.  The BELCOGEN turbines also supply power to the Belize Electricity Limited.  Whether the sudden stoppage will result in power outages is another question.  Marion Ali for News Five.

According to B.S.I., sugar production to date is thirty thousand, five hundred and eighty tons, which is a little less than five thousand tons ahead of target.

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1 Response for “Temporary shutdown of Tower hill Factory is set for this Thursday”

  1. CEO says:

    So what if they are ahead does this mean they have to go screw that up?

    It is very simple schedule all your major repairs on the off season. Don’t run the equipment to failure remove and replace major working parts and equipment when they are approaching the end of their usefull life. Al your equipment should be equiped with a gage that measures working hours of each piece of equipment.

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