PM Addresses Sugar Industry Ruling, Emphasizes Good Relations

PM Addresses Sugar Industry Ruling, Emphasizes Good Relations

Prime Minister John Briceno has committed to ensuring that there is a good relationship between the country and the players in the sugar industry.  The Prime Minister comments were in response to the ruling of the High Court that cited several portions of the Sugar Act as being unconstitutional.  The Attorney General, Anthony Sylvestre has met with the Minister of Agriculture, Jose Abelardo Mai to ensure that the government operates within the fairness and ruling of the court.

Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “That’s a tough one. I have not gotten a full briefing. But the Attorney General met with the Minister of Agriculture in trying to get a briefing, a full understanding. It’s kind of not too very clear so I don’t want to comment too much about it more than anything else that the sugar industry has been one of the most successful industries that Belize has had where it has created a fairly large middle income class in this country and so we need to do everything possible to protect the industry and by that I’ve always said protect the farmers but also protect the company because they are joined at the hip. We need both to be able to have a successful industry. How are we going to move forward? Well, we need to find a way. How is it that we’re going to ensure that the farmers’ rights are protected at all times, and at the same time that we can find the funds to be able to operate the different departments or divisions. I don’t want to give any names at this time because they might have to change to ensure that the sugar industry can to thrive and to be able to grow and expand.”

Prime Minister Briceno noted that he is in communication with BSI/ASR which has expressed interest in working together with the cane farmers.

Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “BSI have already reached out to me to point out, listen, we want to work with the farmers, we want to work with Belize, we want to ensure that this industry continues to thrive. So it’s not a matter of wanting to bankrupt anybody because at the end of the day then is it taxpayers who have to give back that money. So I believe, and as I always have said, I’m an optimist in nature that we’ll find a common ground to be able to move forward.”

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