BSCFA upset over PM Briceno’s comments

BSCFA upset over PM Briceno’s comments

The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) is once again unhappy with the government; this time, over statements made by Prime Minister John Briceno. In an interview last week, Briceno publicly declared that he would not engage in a back-and-forth with the BSCFA.  His refusal to engage on the issue had to do with the association comparing him to a Mexican dictator, Porfirio Diaz, who supported economic inequalities and had little to no interest in the farmers and their rights.  In a press conference held today, the Chairman of its Committee of Management, Alfredo Ortega, spoke on several instances where the Prime Minister did not deliver on his promises.

Alfredo Ortega, Chairman, BSCFA’s Committee of Management: “We are very upset with his comments or with his interview, his words that he used. Because if you can recall in January 4th when we were in the negotiations with BSI where he was one of the main characters in the negotiations between us and BSI he signed a document with us in which he committed himself. He committed his government that within thirty days after the signature of the 4th of January that the commission of inquiry would be starting its work or their work and we have the document that he signed. So he is not knowledgeable to what he said. He knows very well, now he comes out that proper consultation was not done. Consultation was done long before, consultation was done from since July of last year. Even in the document it says that Cabinet has already approved for the commission of inquiry to do their work. So if the Cabinet has approved how comes you will come now and say that there was not a proper consultation being done now ? It is very frustrating the way he is behaving now. We think, we are awaiting, our farmers are waiting that the commission of inquiry starts it work. Why ? Because he himself has said many a times that once the commission of inquiry brings out their information that information will be used for a new commercial agreement to be negotiated from, that information, and also that it will have a modernized act for the sugar industry. So that is what we are expecting, that is what we are awaiting from the government to happen. We want that he comes through to what he promised us from long ago.”

Last week when the BSCFA was criticizing PM Briceno, it was in connection with the court ruling that found portions of the Sugar Act as unconstitutional.  The BSCFA is not happy with that ruling, and is aggressively campaigning for the government to appeal the ruling.  Chairman of the BSCFA’s Finance Committee, Javier Keme, said that they believe that the Prime Minister conceded too easily to the court’s ruling.  Additionally, Keme echoed Ortega’s sentiments on the Prime Minister’s recent remarks, and expressed the union’s discontent with the Briceno’s recent statements. 

Javier Keme, Chairman, BSCFA’s Finance Committee: “I don’t think he analyzes what he says when he speaks in regards to certain topics. When he was questioned about the regulation, the outcome of the regulation his choice of words was in a very insulting tone to the farmers that he was expecting that outcome and that’s wrong from a leader to ascertain that. Why ? Because that means you promote as leader of the government you gave your authorization to go through something a procedure that you already have perceived that it is to fail ? That’s wrong from a leader to make such a statement. Now coming to the ruling the judge has all the authority.”

The BSCFA says it believes the only government minister supporting them fully is Minister of Agriculture, Jose Abelardo Mai.

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