BSCFA Urges PM Action: Dispute Over Sugar Industry Regulations Sparks Call for Appeal

BSCFA Urges PM Action: Dispute Over Sugar Industry Regulations Sparks Call for Appeal

The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) is calling on the Prime Minister to appeal the recent court judgment on the Sugar Industry Import/ Export Regulations and establish the Commission of Inquiry. Last week, the high court ruled that significant portions of the regulations which were passed in the House of Representatives in May 2023, were unconstitutional. Justice Rajiv Goonetilleke struck down 5 of the 11 declarations sought by the claimants, namely, the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) and the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Associations (CSCPA). It is a ruling that the BSCFA is not happy with, and is calling on the Prime Minister to lodge an appeal in the court.  According to the association, the very regulations that the court has struck out, are the very ones needed to negotiate a fair commercial agreement between and among cane farmer associations.  IT noted in its release, that, quote, “The regulations were aimed at rectifying the injustice and ensuring the fairness of Fairtrade Premium payment to all cane farmer associations….” End of quote.  The tone of the letter got quite feisty when the association zoomed in on the Prime Minister, asking if John Briceno would go down as the former Mexican President, Porfirio Diaz, who abandoned the small farmers and workers in favor of the oppressive multinational companies and big business many of whom are modern-day colonizers of Belize.  The release goes further by telling the Prime Minister to, “STAY PAN TRACK”, and to appeal the judgment on the regulations and establish the Commission of Inquiry forthwith.  The document closed by asking PM Briceno, if he needs the farmers to remind him where the track is.  Briceno responded to the release from the BSCFA saying he will not appeal the judgement.

Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “I will not waste my time in answering the BSCFA. I think, and I am doing what I believe is in the interest of the industry and in the interest of Belize. We have three other associations that are working with the sugar mill they’re not the only ones so let’s start off with that. I have said to them that there has to be proper consultations. There were not proper consultations. The way the commission of inquiry, the terms of reference the way it was set up it was a terms of reference for the BSCFA. So I am meeting with the Minister on Monday and one Monday we’re going to finalize the terms and then we’re going to proceed. But if we were to proceed the way they want us to proceed we’ll be wasting our time because we’ll be taken to court and the court is going to rule against us. We are not going to appeal just because they asked us to appeal. We have to appeal if there is a case and it seems that there is not a case to appeal. I’m not going to waste the people’s monies. As long as I know in my conscience that what I’m doing is the correct thing I don’t care what anybody says. It’s important for us to work, the farmers of this country in the north know the work that we’re doing they gave us already an overwhelming mandate in Orange Walk Town and in Corozal Town. There are several thousands of farmers living in Orange Walk Town and Corozal they did not vote against us they voted for us because they are seeing the work that we are doing.”

We will keep following this story.

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