Monday, March 23, 2015.AARON HUMES Reporting: On February 23, Supreme Court Justice Shona Griffith dismissed the claim of senior cane farmer Lucilo Teck against the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) over technical details related to the filing of the case.
Teck had sought a writ of mandamus against the SICB to open the 2015-2016 sugar cane crop season which kicked off late in January after some legal maneuvering.
The court was scheduled to deliver a decision today on the issue of costs to the attorneys representing the SICB, Belize Sugar Industries/American Sugar Refining, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture Gaspar Vega, the latter four being interested parties in the case.
But it was postponed until Friday, March 27 to give attorneys representing the BSCFA, Courtenay, Coye and Company, further time to file submissions on payment of costs.
Normally the issue of costs in a court case is a footnote, but in this case Teck, who lost the case, may be held liable for the costs incurred by attorneys representing the other parties, including the BSCFA which has explicitly asked for such costs.
Teck’s attorney, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, believes he shouldn’t have to pay them a dime, because the Association had passed a resolution at a January 4 meeting calling on the Committee of Management to join the case; unfortunately, it appears they are working against the interest of cane farmers in Matura-Shepherd’s view.
Matura-Shepherd calls for farmers to challenge the Association on its payments for legal costs for cases in which it participates on behalf of the farmers and for a general audit of the Association, which she contends is politically manipulated.
She says the BSCFA is doing a disservice to its members by standing against Teck, accusing chairman Ezequiel Cansino and other directors of having “no testicular fortitude” to stand up against perceived injustices.
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