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Dec 10, 2013

Cane farmers want to resolve bagasse issue outside of court

Prime Minister Dean Barrow met with representatives of ASR and BSI in Belize City on Monday. Local stakeholders in the industry are awaiting word from ASR which will dictate the next move forward. GOB is in the cane-farmers’ corner – but only where the demand for payment for the use of bagasse is concerned. And that’s where they part ways, since government does not support the threat to suspend delivery of cane. ASR has stated repeatedly that the BSCFA is free to take their claim to court, but that should not affect the industry. GOB seems to be on the same legal track. But the BSCFA isn’t hearing that at all. They want the matter settled, but not in court.

 

Alfredo Ortega, Vice-Chairman, Committee of Management

Alfredo Ortega

“We really believe that this is something that we should solve as partners in the industry and I think B.S.I. have said it themselves that we are partners in the industry and that we are stakeholders in the industry and they mentioned in twice in different release that they brought out that we should resolve this ourselves and not through the media. We were trying that from the very beginning and it is in our thought that this should be resolved out of court. This is something that should be resolved between B.S.I. and ourselves and I believe that this should have been resolved from long ago. We started from 2010 we came to the table and asked B.S.I. to help resolve it and they dragged their foot and dragged their foot until December 2012 we sent them, they said up to February this year that they had not received anything, we resend them back all our proposals. We have sent them our written proposal to them and up to today date we have not received anything form them in writing saying something else or something different,. We only heard that by their words that they are not in agreement in this but we haven’t received anything on the table that can be demonstrated in black and white, why the opposition is up to this point. So we believe as cane farmers that this thing should be solved outside of the court because you know the court also drag their foot and we are not looking for years because what is coming in 2017 and what is forecasting is that the price of sugar is going to go down because of what is happening now. Sad you know we as farmers it is not that we are not accustomed to eating a good plate of food but we also know about sacrifice and this is the time that farmers have said it is today or never. So they are determined and we are working in unity in this pint in time so I believe that everything that comes needs to be a sacrifice that will give farmers work on the longer run, the framers are looking forward to that.”

 

With Christmas approaching, farmers would generally be enjoying the use of their first payment if crop had started in November. As things stand that won’t happen. Ortega says even that harsh reality has not weakened the resolve of cane-farmers.

 

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