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Dec 19, 2014

N.T.U.C.B. Supports Cane-farmers

Ezekiel Cansino

As we showed you, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize has put its considerable weight behind the cane-farmers of the north. That will without a doubt enhance the B.S.C.F.A.’s bargaining position – an enhancement it could no doubt have used in the past months when the Association, bit-by-bit relinquished all its bargaining points. But in this case, at least, since the agreement has not been signed, it’s safe to say that the support is better late in coming, than never.


Ezekiel Cansino, Chairman, Committee of Management, B.S.C.F.A.

“It’s encouraging, but I think that if the support would have come much earlier I think that we would be in a better position—in a better position of saying moving all the nation in our behalf.”


Audrey Matura-Shepherd

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Representative, N.T.U.C.B.

“What we were able to do is explain to them that we support them fully and I think one thing we’ll agree; they said that we should have come to their assistance earlier. We did but I won’t go into the politics as to what had happened. The thing is that we are here now. What is important is presently, B.S.I. is denying that they change the terms of the agreement, but I have all the copies right here and I can share it with you all so that you see B.S.I. wanted to be the ones who have control over whether to reject cane or not. Now for them to go and say that this is a lie; I mean we have emails and everything that they sent it. So they be acting in good faith? So what we advice the association is that look they haven’t done a counter-offer and entered new terms, it opens the door for you to go back to the negotiating table. And so we are showing them, at this point, you all had given up everything. You went into a negotiation, you had three points and you gave-in in all three points; that cannot be a fair negotiation. What have the cane farmers gotten in return? Nothing. They didn’t get anything close to ten dollars, they didn’t even get three dollars; they are at fifty-one cents. They are being forced to give up ownership of the cane despite them taking all the risk. And these agreements will show that they don’t get paid the minute the cane lands there, you know. They get paid after the sugar is manufactured and there is a price paid on the sugar and then they deduct all the payments from freight and all expenses then they get paid. So they are not getting anything back and then in return they are asking them to bind themselves for seven years. The cane farmers have not benefitted. And then to add insult to injury, B.S.I. has now gone and tried to insert a provision that should not have been there and we have the proof in hand. I know they are denying it, but we have the proof in hand. And so we know at this point that there are directions who are saying that they are not going to sign.”

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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1 Response for “N.T.U.C.B. Supports Cane-farmers”

  1. Belizean says:

    Sugar Factory will close. It is an unprofitable business to be pampering the farmers to the last drop of milk. Every business is operating in order to make money. If they cant make money, they will move. I dont think the farmers, or the rest of the public really know who ASR is. What they are currently experiencing here will cuase them to make a drastic decision. One day the farmers will not have a place to leave their cane.

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