By Aaron Humes:The standoff between the American Sugar Refining/Belize Sugar Industries Limited (ASR/BSI) and Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) continues, and the latter is going to the highest authority in the land to solve it.
BSCFA Chairman Marciano Novelo and Secretary Ramon Aban wrote Prime Minister John Briceño on Tuesday inviting him to a meeting to discuss efforts to get the miller around the table for a new commercial agreement.
The Association served notice a few weeks ago that it wanted to negotiate and conclude an agreement in time for the start of the 2021 crop season, but BSI has been reluctant, to say the least.
The Association says it got no response to a prior request for representation on September 25.
According to the Association, BSI has signed five-year agreements with the smaller cane farmers associations while setting preconditions for a negotiation with the BSCFA, the largest, that it feels is delaying and intimidating them and in general, showing a poor attitude.
BSCFA insists it wants to negotiate a new agreement before signing on to one.
The letter is copied to Minister of Agriculture Jose Mai and BSCFA branch chairmen, as well as Government Minister and chair of the People’s United Party’s Northern Caucus Florencio Marin Jr, but not to BSI or industry regulators the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) or Sugar Cane Production Committee (SCPC). We’ll continue to follow the story.