Government Mediates Dispute Between Sugar Cane Farmers Association and BSI/ASR
The Government of Belize says it continues to mediate the bitter dispute between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and BSI/ASR. The two parties remained locked in a dispute over the union’s collective bargaining agreement and most recently fair-trade payments. GOB has appointed a ministerial sub-committee to meet with BSI and BSCFA to resolve the issues amicably. According to PM, Briceno, little progress has been made since the committee was formed almost two months ago.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Well we’ve been doing that for some time. Remember we have a subcommittee that is headed by Minister Musa along with minister Mai and Minister Mira and they have been back and forth trying to find some kind of common ground. It’s still ongoing, we’re not giving up. We believe that somehow we’ll be able to find common ground.”
PM Briceno also responded to the opposition’s criticism of GOB providing one million dollars towards the acquisition of fertilizer for members of the BSCF. Opposition member, Hugo Patt, claims that the move was biased toward other sugar associations, but the PM refutes that claim.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “I think that’s not a fair criticism on their part. Remember the BSCFA has not been getting fair trade monies, the other three have been getting fair trade monies and the money they get from fair trade is to be able to buy fertilizers. Since the BSCFA which is the largest association they have a little over 50% of the farmers as members have not gotten anything so we believe we had to do something just like what we did with the stevedores about a year and a half ago we assisted them I think with $1.5 million dollars we have done that now to try to help them through this critical time.”