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Jan 9, 2015

Did PM Barrow Get It Right on Sugar Industry Act?

“Foolishness on top of foolishness…nonsense placed upon stilts.” – Those words were used by the Prime Minister on Thursday to describe the notion by farmers, described by him as radicals…that they could get the Court to move on the Mandamus Order. But the Court has moved, quite decisively. And that brings into scrutiny a very clear assertion made by the PM at his press conference. He referred to the bid by the so-called “radicals” as illegal, because of a 2010 Supreme Court order declaring portions of the Sugar Industry Act unconstitutional. But we’re not even sure that there was a Supreme Court order. News Five has received a copy of a consent order issued by the Supreme Court in 2010, but it seems to be a completely different thing from what the PM is saying. For context we revisit his comment.  



Dean Barrow, Prime Minister

“there is already in existence a Supreme Court order declaring certain portions of the Sugar Industry Act unconstitutional and directing government to amend the law to bring it into conformity with the constitution. How the lawyers representing the radicals will move the court for an order under an Act that is unconstitutional defeats me…and one of the reasons the Act was found unconstitutional is precisely because it only recognizes the B.S.C.F.A. as the sole representative of cane farmers, the sole organization apart from the miller to be involved with the SICB in taking actions such as fixing the period for the annual crop. The amendments mandated by the Court include the removal of the B.S.C.F.A. as sole grower representative and substituting therefore any and all organizations such as the United Cane Farmers Association which brought the challenge to the Act in the first place, and the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers’ Association. In these circumstances it seems to be foolishness on top of foolishness, nonsense placed upon stilts, for these people to argue that they will get the court to aid their illegal bid to pressure the SICB.”


But here’s the thing. We’re told that there was no decision ever handed down in that case, and in fact it was discontinued because both parties consented to settling. Indeed the document states that, quote – “all further proceedings in this action be stayed pending the carrying out of the undertakings,” end quote. The undertakings are simple – one, the Attorney-General would amend the Act to include the option of other associations being formed by August 2010. In return the claimants would discontinue their claim. The AG never made the amendments, and the matter never continued. Because it was never carried through to a decision, we are told that the current Sugar Industry Act, recognizing only the BSCFA, is in full and binding effect. 

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 “Did PM Barrow Get It Right on Sugar Industry Act?”

  1. CEO says:

    Never believe politicians! They are only motivated by votes and money. Barrow’s motivation this time is for no other reason!

    The farmers who chose not to go along with the GOB’s position are not “radicals” Mr. PM: they are standing up for their rights and for their future!

    Don’t try to pull the rug from under them by trying ostracize and belittle their efforts. Neither should you decide for the court and say what the courts decision will be.

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