The three cane farmers associations, namely the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, the Progressive Sugar Cane Producers Association and the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association have written to the Export Processing Zone Committee (EPZ) requesting that Santander not be allowed to sell its sugar on the local market, which will seriously affect their sales. Today, Tracy Taegar-Panton, Minister of State in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Commerce told the media that Santander’s action was a very serious violation but there is a procedure that needs to be followed.
Tracy Taegar-Panton – Minister of State: “There is a process that we need to take so that we can gather all the relevant information about what happened and how it happened so the appropriate action can be taken against the person who did wrong. Santander had no permission or permit or waiver from the government to sell any of its products on the local market. It violated it’s EPZ status when it did that and so the EPZ committee will meet, the evidence is obviously glaring against Santander but we have to allow the process to take place. We have listened to the cane farmers association, in fact my CEO is in the north currently having meetings, we will speak with all stakeholders. The sugar sector is a very important economic sector for the country of Belize and we can’t ignore that. Santander contributes to the export earnings from sugar to Belize and so we are trying to be fair to all participants and in particular to our farmers.”
Taegar-Panton said that the Ministry will offer its recommendation based on its findings.