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Prime Minister reiterates support for agro-producers but exasperated by “misrepresentations”

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Posted: Friday, February 18, 2022. 10:52 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Prime Minister John Briceno has expanded on his public response to the Belize Agro-productive Sector Group (BASG), reiterating his commitment to legal reform for the agricultural sector.

In response to complaints about the process for amendments, particularly to the sugar, citrus, banana, and pesticides control legislation, the Prime Minister conceded that “along with you, we recognize that there is much to improve in law, in policy and otherwise to make the conduct of business in Belize easier and better. The reform of the Grain Act is the only one that has not commenced but there is every intention to start this process in the immediate future as the stakeholders provide guidance in this regard.”

After further reporting on the progress of the updates and amendments, with an assurance that there will be consultations with all stakeholders including the producers and processors with a view to addressing all issues and concerns, the P.M. questioned where BASG’s ideas for amendments were: “Please recall that we had suggested in our meeting of January 14, 2022, a suggestion which was expressly embraced by your group, that we would welcome your proposed suggested amendments to the relevant laws. To date, we have received nothing from you or any of your members other than your counterproductive letter of complaint.”

The Prime Minister also pointed out in his response that, “Your letter also undoubtedly includes glaring and troubling misrepresentations and falsehoods. Being surprised by some of the comments in your letter, we reached out directly to representatives of the Banana Growers’ Association which represents the banana industry. They have made it clear that they have no interest whatsoever in the amendment of the Banana Industry Act. Your sub-group therefore clearly does not represent the industries nor the stakeholders you purport to represent. I am therefore concerned as to the bonafides of your letter.”

 

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