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Dec 22, 2021

Can G.O.B. Resolve Sugar Impasse in the North?

As viewers probably know by now the start of sugar crop has been delayed in the North due to unresolved issues between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, B.S.C.F.A. and the millers in Tower Hill, A.S.R./B.S.I. Adding to the confusion, after B.S.I. said they would proceed with milling on Monday even if not every association was on board, the Sugar Industry Control Board informed in to B.S.I., that action would be illegal because under the Sugar Industry Act, the start date has not been gazetted. Today, P.M. Briceño was asked: at what point should G.O.B. intervene?


Prime Minister John Briceño

John Briceño

“We will be getting this afternoon a briefing from the Minister of Agriculture. We are monitoring this very closely. I continue to maintain my position that A.S.R./B.S.I. is an integral part of the industry.  They are our partners and we need to find a way how we can work with them. That said, also our farmers are our partners and we need to ensure that there is fair play that there is a sense of fairness. Now I am not accusing the farmers or B.S.I. of not being fair. But if we have by far the largest association, they have over seven hundred thousand tons of cane to delivery out of one million three hundred tons and they are saying we want to renegotiate what we have, then I think they do have a right. B.S.I. is saying you only have until the end of January when the commercial agreement comes to an end. As a government, we cannot stand by and then allow for chaos to take over in the industry. And so we believe that we have to come in as honest brokers to be able to ensure that we can have the two parties sit around the table and negotiate an agreement that is beneficial to both sides. We don’t feel that the farmers should get everything that they want, but likewise the same thing with B.S.I.”

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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