Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Agriculture, Economy » Prime Minister John Briceño Speaks on Sugar Impasse
Oct 27, 2022

Prime Minister John Briceño Speaks on Sugar Impasse

This week, the sugar impasse between the differing parties – the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and American Sugar Refinery/Belize Sugar Industries Limited was centre stage again. Last evening, you heard Minister of Agriculture, Abelardo Mai say that Cabinet members were concerned about the stalemate and also that there seems to be a promising move towards solving the problem with the company now agreeing to mediation. Today, Prime Minister John Briceño told the media that Minister Mai has been asked to meet with both sides as well.


Prime Minister John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“It is something that needs to be addressed. The sugar industry continues to be one of the most important in the country and specifically for the north. In Cabinet we have agreed that we will ask Minister Mai to meet with both B.S.I. and with the B.S.C.F.A to try to settle on the mediation process. Both parties have agreed. When we first suggested the issue of the mediation process I think around August, B.S.I was not fully convinced that they would go to mediation, but we have just probably a month that we want to try to address this matter. So I’m hoping that calmer heads prevail and that both parties can sit with a mediator to try to settle the differences that they have. Once the mediation starts then it’s now a matter of these two private groups to be able to come up and try to find how they can reach a settlement and we’re hoping that that settlement can be done hopefully within a month. I don’t know why they’re making an issue on that because I’ve been very clear and I’ve said it to them in many instances, no company is going to give up twenty million dollars. Obviously you’re driving them to bankruptcy and I’ve been saying it over and over, we need the millers as much as we need the farmers. We need the farmers as much as we need the millers because one can’t do without the other. The point is this whole issue started when the B.S.C.F.A was questioning what was being charged on what we call the Net Strip Value and that charge was coming up to, I think, thirty million dollars. They felt that B.S.I was not totally transparent with them when they come to those charges. So they were asking for the right to audit and B.S.I was resisting. They sent one thing but when you see the documentary evidence to back up that report then you know what’s there. That’s what they wanted and B.S.I was resisting for some time. Now B.S.I is saying okay I’ll give you the right to audit. And B.S.C.F.A is saying no, we want a totally different agreement in revenue-sharing. And that is fine if that’s what they want. To me what is important is for them to sit around the table and to discuss and find a way how to settle this. I am also a cane farmer so it is also in my interest to be able to have a settlement, but I’m also the prime minister of this country. I have a greater responsibility not only as a cane farmer but as the leader of the country to ensure that we can have an agreement that is going to be fair to the farmers but also to the millers.”

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.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed