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Feb 10, 2011

Sugar Industry woes

In a senate meeting in November last year, Senator Godwin Hulse projected that the sugar content in the new cane crop was possibly better than that of 2009. In his estimate the cane had a minimum sugar content of ten to one. He even went as far as to outline how the mill would be humming and production could be efficient and the country could earn over ninety eight million dollars from cane that’s out there right now in the fields. That cash crop could help the Belize Sugar Industry Factory with its international debts, however, today the sugar factory at Tower Hill shut down for repairs because of faulty turbines. Cane farmers, truckers and cutters are hoping for the best, but it will take not less than three to four weeks before the equipment can be functional for the factory to reopen. It’s another blow to the industry that went into convulsion late last year when there was a delay in the start of the crop and payment to farmers.  The P.M. and the Leader of the Opposition both weighed in on the state of that industry.

Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“Let us hope in fact the repairs can be done in not more than four weeks and then we can get back up to full production. I believe that all of you know that until that happened, we were well on the way to having the best crop in history in terms of the quality of cane, in term of the efficiency of the delivery system.  But man proposes and god disposes.”

John Briceno

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“In 2009, as early as 2009, we were calling the attention of the Prime Minister that there is problems brewing in the Sugar Industry.  He refused to meet the cane farmers in February 2009 and because of his refusal to meet with them, a Belizean lost his life, Atanascio Felix Gutierrez, and there is a widow with six children that do not have a father to provide for them. Because he refused to intervene at an appropriate time, 2010 has been the worst sugar crop in history from problems at B.S.I. to the quality of sugar cane being delivered—it was total chaos. It was only when B.S.I. announced that they have a cash flow problem, that they cannot meet the third payment to the farmers, that they do not have the money to be able to start the new crop [the 2010-2011 crop] that the Prime Minister decided to pay attention. And what was ironic is that when we spoke and I spoke to the Prime Minister about the issue, I promised that I was going to assist and it is through our intervention that we came up with the plan that he presented to parliament and I mean we have the evidence to show. I met with the private sector—the Belize Chamber of Commerce, the Business Bureau—I met with the Cane Farmers Association—both chairmen—I spoke to the social partners at Social Security in trying to find a compromise or trying to find a way forward as how we can get this ten million dollars for B.S.I. because I want to make it absolutely clear that it is imperative, it is important for us to keep B.S.I. operating because we need the factory just like how we need the cane farmers.”

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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4 Responses for “Sugar Industry woes”

  1. O. Walk ras says:

    How did BSI used to run the factory when Belcogen did not exist?? Did they get rid of the entire old system? The entire BSI management and staff are in shmbles; they cannot run BSI ,all are just waiting for their next fat paycheck. The do not care about the poor canefarmers; but guess what, they are killing the goose that lays the golden egg!!!

  2. Bruce says:

    Like Libertad Your party closed Next party blamed

  3. Bruce says:

    By the by this is a maintenance problem and as it seems there was no money to do the repair over the rainy season and what about the gentleman who lost his life in the factory last year? who do you blame for that???

  4. Earl Grey says:




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