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Jul 22, 2021

Sugar Ship Moved to Big Creek: Union Says Fight Not Over for Stevedores

Their ship may have left the Port of Belize, but Belize City stevedores say they will continue to challenge Cabinet’s decision to allow the ships they have been offloading sugar from to begin docking in Big Creek. News Five’s Paul Lopez has more on this week’s developments.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

The Belize Sugar Industries/ ASR group has relocated its sugar loading operations from the Port of Belize facility in Belize City to the Big Creek Port in Stann Creek District. The stevedores who worked the sugar ship are not happy about this move, according to President of their labor union, Mose Hyde.


Evan “Mose” Hyde, President, C.W.U.

“We are deeply deeply, deeply offended by that.”


The offense comes, not necessarily by the move itself, but in the Cabinet decision   on Tuesday to bypass a Memorandum of Understanding signed between G.O.B. and Banana Enterprises Limited, the parent company of the Big Creek Port, back in 2006. The document stipulates that the company will not provide port facilities and operations at the Big Creek Port for general cargo vessels which are currently utilizing the Belize City Port at Port Loyola. And, Big Creek Port must restrict their operations to businesses located in Southern Belize. The Union was blind-sided.


Evan “Mose” Hyde

Evan “Mose” Hyde

“There was no engagement at that level to have any kind of. We don’t even have a justification, to be honest with you. We don’t even know why, what is the position for the dismissal of the MOU? We just know that that has happened.”


B.S.I./A.S.R. has been loading its export sugar at the Port of Belize for decades. Earlier this year, however, the company announced its intention of shifting operations to Big Creek upon completion of a facility there. Unlike in Belize City, in Big Creek sugar ships can come right in and drop anchor, saving the company both time and money.   The C.E.O. for the Port of Belize says he was informed the company is within its rights to make the change.


On the Phone: Andrew Lane, C.E.O., Port of Belize

“Over the telephone conference the Minister of Labor said that it was A.S.R./B.S.I.’s right to decide where they take the sugar to.”


With that, as soon as Wednesday morning the ASR/BSI’s sugar ship that was being loaded at the Port of Belize moved to the Big Creek Port to complete the loading. But, that was not an arbitrary decision since the stevedores at the Port of Belize have been on a go slow for the past twelve days, costing the sugar company a lot of money.


On the Phone: Andrew Lane

“That ship has sat out there now for 12 days. She is supposed to load eleven thousand tons of sugar. And, in 12 days, the ship should have been finished by now; in 12 days the ship has loaded one thousand tons of sugar.”


C.E.O. Lane says while he is in does not agree with the Government’s decision to disregard the 2006 M.O.U., he views the C.W.U.’s actions as damaging to all parties involved.


On the phone: Andrew Lane

“And for the life of me I do not understand the actions of C.W.U.  It is hurting my stevedores. It is hurting the farmers. It is hurting Belize Sugar Industries. It makes the country looks an unreliable trading partner. It has not served anybody, any purposes whatsoever.”


For their part, the Christian Workers Union leader says their fight is not over.


Evan “Mose” Hyde

“They will have to do better than sending and indirect message to us, than to tell us that the MOU will not play any part in what happens going forward.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

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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