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Jul 6, 2021

Is A.S.R./B.S.I. Moving Sugar Operations from P.B.L. to Big Creek?

Of equal concern for the Christian Workers Union is a pending move by A.S.R./B.S.I. to transfer its sugar operations from Belize City to the Port of Big Creek.  This would mean that the company will instead truck shipments of sugar from Tower Hill to Independence overland as a cost-cutting measure.  It also spells the termination of roughly forty stevedores who have been working at the waterfront offloading sugar barges for decades.  But is it legal for A.S.R./B.S.I. to simply relocate its Belize City operations in the face of an agreement that was signed between Toledo Enterprises Limited and the Government of Belize back in February 2006?  C.W.U. President, Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde also raised that issue during this morning’s press conference.


Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde

Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde, President, C.W.U.

“Most of you, I believe, are aware that A.S.R. is presently building a storage facility a Big Creek where they intend to relocate their shipping point from Port of Belize to the Big Creek facility.  This was confirmed to us for the first time two months ago by the new C.E.O. at P.B.L., Mr. Andy Lane.  Even before that, we had been expressing to negotiators from P.B.L. that our members want to sit down and discuss the sugar situation.  We have been told incessantly that this is not a matter that they are going to engage in at this point in time.  We have gone as far as to write to the prime minister of our country, the honorable John Briceño.  We wrote to the prime minister on the twenty-eighth of May and in that letter we described to the prime minister the serious impasse that was developing on the matter of sugar relocation and compensation to our members.  We also took the time to describe to the prime minister the situation with our staff and the fact that they were being denied a right to engage on their matters separately.  And we also shared with the prime minister a copy of an agreement that we have that was signed in 2006 between the Government of Belize and the ownership group of Big Creek and that agreement was signed to try to quell what was an apparent dispute between P.B.L. and Big Creek and that agreement set out what Big Creek was allowed to ship and what it was not allowed to ship. What we sought from the prime minister was a clarification, an update to have us know well, what does this agreement mean.  We have sought legal advice and the legal advice says this agreement is clear that A.S.R. should not be able to move to Big Creek.  So if there has been a new agreement, if there has been a dissolution of this agreement, if there’s a new agreement in the works.  On behalf of our members, we wanted to know, and for the life of us, we could not understand why the company, P.B.L., would not be advocating with the understanding that this document and this agreement exist.  We sought clarification, we were not responded to and we have yet to be responded to.”

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