Opposition Leader Agrees with Sugar Cane Farmers’ Call for Inquiry

Opposition Leader Agrees with Sugar Cane Farmers’ Call for Inquiry

Leader of the Opposition Moses Shyne Barrow says he agrees with the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and called on Prime Minister Briceno to force BSI’s hand. The association continues to demand that the PM force the Belize Sugar Industries to participate in the government’s Commission of Inquiry into the sugar industry. On Wednesday, only a day after GOB announced the COI was set to proceed, the BSI/ASR rejected the COI’s terms of reference and stated that it would refuse to participate in the venture. Yesterday, members of the BSCFA went to show support for the Minister of Agriculture and doubled down on their belief that the Prime Minister can force BSI/ASR to participate. Today, Barrow weighed in on the situation and stated that he believes the BSCFA is right. 

Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “I don’t want to be right in these instances for the sake of saying aha I told you so. I would wish that these problems would get solved definitively. But I will say this. I have to agree with the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association in what they said as far as if a small business person starts a business all the authorities go down there and they want to check everything to make sure that taxes are being paid and everything is proceeding accordingly so I don’t think a multinational should be exempt from the process that our regular Belizeans face. What’s the problem with transparency ? What’s the problem with accountability ? What’s the problem with having all the details ? Maybe it could be that there is some confidentiality so while the Commission of Inquiry may happen maybe you block out certain parts, maybe certain parts don’t come to the entire public but it would just be for the consideration of the parties involved if the corporation feels that their privacy is being invaded but they’re a public company. It’s private sector but you know they’re involved in an essential service when we’re talking about the sugar industry that impacts so many people and we’ve had this problem, this impasse for so long and we need to solve it. And so I it’s hard to argue with the logic of the representatives from the sugar cane farmers association that you know everybody is scrutinized. Every business their books are examined so why not the multinational ? On the other end where the multinational says that well you know they have to reconsider their options the farmers say that they were prepared to buy the mill and they had the investors and the minister is saying that let’s nationalize it. And you know this is what I mean. When they are arguing because Jose Mai is saying one thing, Briceno is saying a next thing you don’t talk about that. I hope that you talked about the fact that Elvia Vega is saying that her life was threatened by one of her PUP party members and then the two PUP party members say that she tried to injure them or whatever. I’m just saying let us be fair.”

Reporter: It’s a power struggle out there.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “Exactly. It’s a part of politics and you know you’ll have people making all types of scurrilous allegations, you’ll have difference of opinions but the most important thing is getting the work of the people done.”

With the refusal of the BSI and the three other northern sugar cane farmers associations, the COI now seems to be in limbo.

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