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Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association calls for transparency in commission of inquiry

Posted: Friday, June 7, 2024. 4:43 am CST.

By Horace Palacio: The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) expressed disappointment over the decision to hold a long-awaited Commission of Inquiry into the sugar industry behind closed doors.

The BSCFA called on the Commission to reconsider and hold public hearings, emphasizing the importance of transparency for the industry’s future.

The inquiry, the first of its kind since 1969, will investigate all aspects of the sugar industry, from cultivation and harvesting to milling and marketing.

The BSCFA hopes the Commission will make bold recommendations to modernize the industry and ensure fair profits for all stakeholders, particularly the cane farmers.

The association also criticized Belize Sugar Industries Limited/American Sugar Refining (BSI/ASR), accusing the company of obstructing the inquiry by refusing to provide certain documents.

The BSCFA urged the Commissioners not to be intimidated and to use the full force of the law to compel cooperation.

The association reiterated its commitment to collaborating with the inquiry and urged all stakeholders to do the same, with the goal of completing the report by November 2024.

The BSCFA disagreed with BSI/ASR’s suggestion that the report should not be used to facilitate negotiations for a fair commercial agreement between the two parties.

The association emphasized that modernizing the industry must include improving trust and equity among stakeholders to avoid further social unrest.


See the full press release below.

 

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