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Dec 30, 2021

No Agreement Signed Today at Tower Hill; Hope Remains For Monday Signing

And while we were talking to those farmers this morning, the executive at B.S.C.F.A., along with Ministry of Agriculture Representatives and representatives at B.S.C.F.A. were meeting over at B.S.C.F.A.’s headquarters. That meeting ended with some positive news for protestors. But, when the day came to an end, there was still no interim agreement being signed.  That won’t be happening until Monday, after the attorneys for the two sides examine the documents. But today, there was continuing hope it would be signed, sealed, and delivered before everyone went home. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

The B.S.C.F.A. Executive met this morning for another round of discussions with several other stakeholders. The meeting ended at midday and the B.S.C.F.A.’s executive then made their way over to the Sugar Mill where cane farmers had set up camp. There, an announcement was made to the farmers. Andrew Westby, Chairman of the Committee of Management at B.S.C.F.A. spoke to the press.


Andrew Westby

Andrew Westby, Chairman, Committee of Management, B.S.C.F.A.

“As a farmer is acting in good faith nuh, we are opening the path for BSI to flow. But, we are giving two hours. If by the time of two hours they don’t come up with the signing of the agreement we are going to close back the path again.”


Paul Lopez

“Who made the request?”


Andrew Westby

“PM made the request for him to proceed with the signing of the interim agreement. So we are doing it as a good faith from the farmer’s side. But after two hours, if nothing is done is done we will close it back.”


Paul Lopez

“And you have gotten word from them that they are prepared to sign?”


Andrew Westby

“Let us see what will happen.”


In response, there was some reluctance as well as objections from within the crowd.


Cane Farmer

“The way I understand it is that the sugar industry is being manipulated. We all know now, it is clear what is happening with the sugar industry and the cane farmers. To me, I want to make it clear, if the farmers could make that mistake to open that line.”


But, in a matter of minutes the majority agreed to this proposal. The entrance and the road that leads to the entrance were both cleared. The next hour and a half were spent waiting. When that time had elapsed, Westby once again got on the mic to announce that an interim agreement would not be signed until Monday. At this, cane farmers resumed their blockade. Trucks were placed in front of the gates once more, and at the entrance of the road that lead to the factory. Area Representative for Orange Walk North, Ramon Cervantes, was among the leaders who delivered the news that further agitated protestors.


Ramon Cervantes

Ramon Cervantes, Area Representative, Orange Walk North

“The situation is that I understand it, B.S.C.F.A.’s lawyers has spoken with the Prime Minister. Also, they have contacted ASR’s lawyers and ASR’s lawyer’s asked for some time to study the document that needs to be signed for the extension of the date, from April thirty to the end of crop. And, they asked for time until Monday. Once that is signed it takes for twenty four hours until the boilers to crank up. PM told me that you are looking at a time period of Monday or Tuesday to start the crop.”


Those we spoke to said the expectation is the sugar cane sitting inside these trucks since Tuesday will be lost. Still, farmers appear to be adamant about leaving their trucks parked in front of the factory until an interim agreement is signed. Reporting for News Five I am Paul Lopez.


After leaving from outside A.S.R./B.S.I.’s compound, protestors reportedly marched in front of the Prime Minister’s Orange Walk home this evening. We will continue to follow.

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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