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BSCFA issues ultimatum to Prime Minister 
January 8, 2024

BSCFA farmers back on picket line over additions to interim commercial agreement

Posted: Monday, January 8, 2024. 11:34 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: A meeting of membership of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) is ongoing this morning at the SIRDI compound in Buena Vista, Corozal District, after the widely held expectation of a signed interim commercial agreement over the weekend failed to pass.

Again the holdup according to the BSCFA is changed language offered by Belize Sugar Industries Limited/American Sugar Refining (BSI/ASR) seeking to narrow the role of Hugh O’Brien, the Government’s chosen analyst, to review shipping charges laid on by the miller. BSCFA wants the analyst to thoroughly review and justify to them why the charges exist and who should pay.

Last Thursday, BSCFA believed that they had reached a finalized agreement, but in the words of Alfredo Ortega, BSCFA vice-chair and public voice, they seem to be back at square one.

Ortega told East Radio FM late Sunday night that “justice must be done” and so farmers are not prepared to go back to work just yet. He even called on parents not to send their children to school as classes resumed this Monday morning, but only as a “protest” rather than in anticipation of any disruptive or lawless activity.

BSCFA is legally represented by former Attorney General Senior Counsel Magali Marin-Young while former Attorney General and Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith represents BSI/ASR. The negotiations have so far not been conducted in person but back-and-forth via telephone, with the Prime Minister acting as intermediary last week.

 

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