Cabinet Hopes that Listening to the Famers and Miller Paves the Way for a Better Sugar Industry
Prime Minister John Briceno says that Cabinet is prepared to listen to both the cane farmers and the miller on their positions regarding the future of the country’s sugar industry. The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA) presented a list of ongoing challenges the farmers face throughout the crop season so that Cabinet understands the reality on the ground and why certain requests are being made to BSI/ASR. Briceno says that he hopes that this will eventually lead to a fair and transparent agreement between the two parties.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “We felt as a Cabinet it would be good to invite both parties to come in and to make a presentation so we could get a better in depth understanding. A few of us have a fairly good understanding of it but most of the Cabinet don’t because they don’t follow the sugar industry for instance am from the sugar so obviously it is in my interest to keep a hand on that. So they made a presentation and I think they made some good points on how is it that they can have they believe a more fairer agreement that would then to seek to ensure that they get a fair share. They believe that there are certain charges that BSI is making that they believe is unjustified or need to be done differently so we listened and we asked questions but it was not for us to make any kind of decision. Now we are going to hear the next side from BSI and hear what is their position with these negotiations. It is important to point out that we cannot legislate away this issue between these two organizations because both groups are private entities. If we are to legislate in favor of the farmers BSI is going to take us to court and if we were to do differently the cane farmers are going to take us to court so all we can do is try to be an honest broker, try to find how we can compromise from both sides and how is it that we can have a more fairer and transparent agreement that would benefit both sides. As I tell everybody we cannot have a sugar industry without the cane farmers and we cannot have a sugar industry without the factory.”