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United Democratic Party calls for Government’s immediate intervention to secure start of sugar crop

Posted: Wednesday, December 27, 2023. 6:04 pm CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: The United Democratic Party (UDP) is calling on the Government of Belize to immediately intervene to secure the start of the sugar crop. 

The UDP says that it is “deeply concerned that once again the breadbasket of the north is under threat as we face another likely delay in commencement of the sugar cane crop season due to an ongoing impasse between Belize Sugar Industries Ltd (BSI) and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) over their commercial agreement.”

The UDP called on the Briceno administration to intervene impartially to ensure a safe and successful opening of the factory. 

“The UDP condemns the passive, indifferent and negligent approach of this PUP administration that holds seven of the eight parliamentary seats from the North,” the UDP expressed. 

The UDP says that the Government has  failed to mediate a long term agreement. 

“Three years into a five year term there has been no improvement in the farmer-miller relationship because Briceno and Mai lack the confidence of the farmers’ associations and the trust of the millers,” the UDP added.

The UDP noted that another delay would be most unfortunate considering how vital the Sugar Industry is to Belize’s economy and to the livelihood of close to 5,000 farmers with more than 40,000 family members and other dependents and beneficiaries. 

The UDP also called on stakeholders, including the manufacturers, the cane farmers and the various associations representing them, as well as the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) and the Government of Belize, to immediately “re-engage in good faith and resolve to hammer out an agreement that is fair to all parties, and to do so as promptly as possible for the survival of the industry, for the benefit of those who directly depend on it, and for the overall good of the economy and the nation.”  

The UDP further called for the appointment of an independent mediator to assist in reaching a settlement and long term agreement.

 

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