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Nov 9, 2022

B.S.C.F.A. Accuses B.S.I. of Foot-Dragging in Mediator Selection Process

There is unease in the sugar industry tonight, as another sugar crop will likely begin without a revised commercial agreement between the A.S.R./B.S.I. and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. The last time we reported on the ongoing negotiations, we told you that both parties have agreed to hire an independent mediator. That news brought a glimmer of hope to what has been a long-drawn-out negotiation process with multiple deadlocks. Well, the latest report is that both parties have been unable to agree on who that mediator will be, with less than a month away from the scheduled start of the sugar crop. B.S.C.F.A. is now accusing B.S.I. of stalling so that farmers become desperate. But, Fred Ortega, the Chairman of the Committee of Management at B.S.C.F.A. says the alleged tactics will not work. When we caught up with him in Belize City today, he accused B.S.I. of having little regard for sugar cane farmers.


Alfredo Ortega

Alfredo Ortega, Chairman, Committee of Management, B.S.C.F.A.  

“As B.S.C.F.A. we have ways been pushing that we end this negotiation with B.S.I. Nevertheless, BSO has always been dragging their foot because of certain things, and they want to push us to agree on their way. It is something that we want to be very clear that we are looking for better benefits to the farmers the same way they are looking for benefits on their side that is the same way we are looking for farmers to get more benefits for what they are doing. As I mentioned before, when you see the cost of fertilizer, herbicides, fuel, and even man power, it is increasing. When we go to the grocery stores what we could buy before with a hundred dollars we get about twenty five percent less or maybe more depending on what you are buying. That is why we have been pushing that we want to finalize this negation with B.S.I. so that we can clearly know what terms we will be starting the next crop. But, B.S.I. has been dragging their foot because they want to make the farmers get desperate and we are pushed to sign what they want. And what they it only helps them not the farmers.”


Paul Lopez

“The solution is to get a mediator? No mediator has been identified as yet or no agreement as to who will be identified as the mediator?”


Alfredo Ortega

“We are working towards that. We have been calling on them, sending letters to them, and they have only been dragging their foot, dragging their foot, dragging their foot, and we are at this point where we have not reached an agreement. We were to come beginning of the week to have an interaction for them bringing their information for the people they chose. We put a date and they just didn’t answer for that date to happen. So, whenever we see these things we ask what type of respect B.S.I. has for us, no respect.”

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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