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Jan 9, 2015

Can Farmers Deliver Cane Without Signing Agreement?

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

So the sugar cane industry is in turmoil and as we said at the beginning, nobody knows what will happen next. If the wish of government and ASR/BSI comes true, individual associations or an alliance of groups will sign the agreement to deliver five hundred thousand tons of sugar cane immediately, and the crop will start. But like in every single aspect of the tumultuous, turbulent industry, that gets complicated too. According to attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd, once the factory starts accepting cane from any farmer slash association slash alliance, the farmers from the BSCFA can slide right in. 


Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Attorney for Lucilo Teck

“If farmers begin delivery next week, under the Act there has to be a grinding season declared. You see all this misinformation and intentionally making you feel that you don’t have to obey the Act or the Act is non-existent or has been repealed is not true. Even the Court order that was entered into by consent has not been complied with by the Minister of the Attorney-General that gave undertakings to conduct themselves a certain way and make amendments by the twenty-first of august 2010. So that same Act therefore…if farmers band and go sign on their own, they have to still obey the law, which requires that a grinding date be set. That works in favour of my clients too, because that means that once the grinding season is set and they are registered by law already, they can go deliver.”



“Can they deliver without signing the agreement? Can they just show up at the factory with their trucks full of cane and say we are here to deliver?”


Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“I am saying yes. Why? Because nothing in any law says that you can only deliver if you enter a new agreement. There has been a subsisting agreement. The law doesn’t operate in a vacuum.”


As we keep saying, it’s a complicated mess. Matura-Shepherd contends that BSCFA farmers could deliver under the terms of the old agreement. But we’re told that if that scenario does take place, while BSI would not be able to turn back any farmer, ALL farmers would be considered to be operating under the agreement signed by those who start the delivery – that is, the new agreement.



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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