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Dec 2, 2021

PM Comments on Commercial Agreement Recommendation

Last night we told you about Cabinet’s recommendation to extend the expiring Commercial Agreement between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and Belize Sugar Industry Limited (BSI/ASR) for a period of six months. The harvest season is set to begin in a couple weeks, and with the expiration of the agreement in January of 2022, negotiations for a revised agreement are at an impasse. Today the press got an opportunity to ask PM Briceno for further details on Cabinet’s recommendation.


Prime Minister John Briceno

Prime Minister John Briceno

“The sugar industry is one of the most important industry in the country, and especially for us in the North. It is a live or die situation when it comes to the sugar industry. If the sugar industry were to crash in the North, many of us, it is going to be catastrophic, worst than a hurricane. The BSCFA has been under long negotiations with BSI and it seems like they are at that impasse. The sugar mill, the crop supposes to be starting sometime this month in December. We have record amount of cane on the ground. We have over one point three million tons of cane. So, we cannot afford one day of delay in opening up the factory and to start. Taking that in mind and seeing that there is an impasse between the two parties, the government decided that we want to meet with both parties. We are prepared to be the honest brokers between the cane farmers and the factory, BSI/ASR, ad to see how best we can come to an agreement. I know that the sugar, the cane farmers association is proposing a new payment scheme. BSI is probably saying they don’t want to change that scheme. So, as honest brokers we are not here to tell them which one is suppose to work. What we are here to do, the sugar industry is a regulated industry, and because it is a regulated industry we believe we have to step in to work with both parties, to see how we can have an agreement that is going to benefit everyone, the farmers and BSI. What we are saying is that there is an agreement coming to an end in January, so what we are telling both parties is let’s take this agreement and just roll it over for the next six months. I wish it could be one month. It could be two months. But we don’t want the negotiations to go indefinitely. So, let’s put a cutoff point. Let’s give enough time to both sides to be able to sit down and truly talk to one another and not talk at one another.”

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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