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Oct 27, 2006

C.P.B.L. employees support Caribbean investment deal

Story PictureFireworks are expected to fly at Saturday’s special annual general meeting of the Citrus Growers Association as growers vote on a proposed investment agreement with Eastern Caribbean interests. Following criticisms to the contract, the growers appointed a five man team to review and make recommendations to members. It is expected that following that presentation and statements from the board of directors, growers will be asked to decide whether they will go through with the agreement or not. Hours away from balloting, another concerned party … the employees of C.G.A.’s processing plant, Citrus Products of Belize Limited, are putting their two cents into the discussion. According to Nikita Usher, staff members are in support of the investment agreement.

Voice of Nikita Usher, C.P.B.L. Employee
?It?s really and truly what we?ve had in the past and what we have now. If we could sum it up in a nutshell, we?ve come through three changes of management and if I could ask our staff today, his has been the best. It?s not about Dr. Canton, it?s about the whole leadership team that this company currently has in place. That?s one issue. You talk about the issue of the views of the experts for citrus over the next five years. Again, I have to support Natalie in saying to you, in Belize, we?ve never seen the prices hold at a higher rate for over two years. So although the experts are saying it?s going to be looking good for the next five years, in Belize that has never materialized. And several experts have said this over the past years. So we are saying to you, we need to take this thing from two-fold. We are hearing the experts say five years that yes, but we are concerned. We don?t see that futuristically and we are asking for a position where we can take it with a little bit less risk involved. We believe in the investment agreement and reducing our debt is going to put us in a more sustainable position.?

Under the terms of the deal, Banks Holdings would take control of forty-six and a half percent of C.P.B.L., at a cost of twelve and a half million U.S. dollars. The AGM will be held at the C.G.A. compound at mile nine on the Stann Creek Valley Road at nine thirty on Saturday.

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