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Prime Minister hopes everyone will participate in Sugar Industry Commission of Inquiry; “not listening” to BSCFA

Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2024. 2:15 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Prime Minister John Briceño brushed off the heavy criticism of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA) issued at its press conference on Tuesday in his hometown of Orange Walk, telling reporters on Wednesday in Belmopan that “I don’t listen to them…Never did.”

But in response to the feeling of persecution made public by American Sugar Refining/Belize Sugar Industries Limited (ASR/BSI), the P.M. insisted that good faith is behind this planned comprehensive look into the entire mechanics behind King Sugar: “That is their right if they don’t want to have a commission of inquiry but at the end of the day we need to have a commission of inquiry to look at the different challenges that industry is facing, from the planting to the harvesting to the transportation and see how we can make the industry more viable and I am hoping that everybody can participate in this process. It is a process being done in good faith.”

And the P.M. stuck to his statement that there were insufficient consultations with all the associations, even if they did not want to participate. He pointed out, “If we had not done that then it would have gone to court and been squashed immediately. I was looking after their interest. That is the very point I was trying to make to the BSCFA. So the BSCFA got what they asked for.”

So, if a Commission of Inquiry is established and nobody is satisfied with it, then what’s the point? The Prime Minister suggested the BSCFA painted themselves into this corner: “I don’t know, because, with the commission of inquiry, you can’t force them to participate. I don’t want to be listening to one group and if we can’t listen to others in the industry then it is of no use. What BSCFA has done is play in the hands of other people and because of thinking emotionally instead of looking at the facts and how we can get things done. They have refused to listen and this is the result.”

The Prime Minister made a note of the fact that his late father was part of the BSCFA’s leadership at one time.

 

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