BSI/ASR Denounces Belize Government’s Sugar Inquiry, Threatens Legal Action

BSI/ASR Denounces Belize Government’s Sugar Inquiry, Threatens Legal Action

Less than twenty-four hours after the government approved the Terms of Reference for its Sugar Industry Commission of Inquiry, the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI/ASR) is denouncing the move and is now considering its options in Belize. Today, the company issued a release opposing the venture, which it says seeks to delve into the private affairs of BSI. The mill says it believes the inquiry will serve the sole purpose of providing ammunition for one cane farmer association, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), to continue its relentless effort to coerce BSI to pay more for cane without any economic or business justification. BSI/ASR further tells the Briceno administration that the decision is politically driven and sends a clear signal to all prospective investors that the government is not serious about investment in Belize and will not hesitate to damage investors for purely political gains. In conclusion, the company says it has no intention of being compelled to produce proprietary and confidential commercial information, the rights over which are protected by law, and calls the inquiry a further assault on its business interests and outright bad faith by the government. A few hours after BSI/ASR issued its statement, Prime Minister Briceno weighed in on the issue and explained that while the company cannot be forced, he would hope it rethinks that position. 

John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize:“Yes you’re right if that’s what they want but at the end of the day we want to have a commission of inquiry to be able to take a look at the different challenges that the industry is facing from the planting to the harvesting to the transportation and to see how we can make the industry more viable and I’m hoping that everybody can participate in this thing. It is a process being done in good faith.”

The government had not named the appointed commissioners in yesterday’s release.

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