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Opposition United Democratic Party accuses Prime Minister of cutting and running from ‘sugar cane crisis’

Posted: Thursday, January 4, 2024. 4:09 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Prime Minister John Briceno’s ill-timed, and ultimately ill-fated, trip to Vatican City has come in for condemnation from the Opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), which accuses him of “fleeing… for a luxury vacation in Rome when the plantation is burning at home.”

It compares the situation to the Prime Minister’s vacation over the Labour Day weekend in May of 2021 when there were major protests by trade unions. It derides “incompetent mismanagement” while accusing the P.M.’s handling of the situation as “negligent, lackluster, passive and indifferent,” costing him the trust of most if not all involved.

That the Northern Caucus appeared to reject the agreement he negotiated last week publicly will hurt long-term confidence in the industry’s stability, and, the UDP says, proves that their opponents have no answers for the cañeros and their dependents, who voted them into seven of the eight parliamentary seats in the northern districts.

The UDP offers to “save the sugar industry” by crafting a long-term agreement that it says will be beneficial to all but put Belizean and cañeros’ interests first.

In amplified comments to reporters on Wednesday, Opposition Leader Moses “Shyne” Barrow accused the Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture of being “pathological liars” and making false promises in return for votes.

There has been no report of further progress toward resolving the issue.


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