Two remarkably good things happened in Belize this week.
Thanks to the timely intervention of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, the canefarmers of Orange Walk and Corozal decided to end their standoff with the sugar factory by accepting a payment of 51 cents a ton for their bagasse by-product and ending forever any future claim on sugarcane after it has been sold to the factory.
Canefarmers also agreed to a seven year production contract with the factory to ensure stability and a safe platform for growth.
Cane farmers did not get what they had hoped for because the demands made by their leaders were extravagant and unrealistic. Instead of focusing on a new and improved contract for cane deliveries and on ways to improve production, BSCFA leaders became obsessed with the idea that there is hidden gold in their bagasse.
Once again the Prime Minister threw the full weight of his office behind efforts to hammer out a settlement, and once again, it worked! Canefarmers now know there is no such thing as a free ride, and can go back to doing what they do best – produce sugarcane!
We pray the weather will help them to produce a bountiful harvest which will earn for them a good profit.
The other development which brought Belizeans much satisfaction took place in the south, at the SICA summit in Placencia. There President Otto Perez Molina won high praise from his colleagues and from Belizeans present for declaring that Guatemala “will never constitute a threat to Belize”.
This presidential pledge of friendship has been warmly welcomed in Belize. In fact it is the finest Christmas present this nation state could hope for when one considers the century old dispute and the constitutional complication created by President Juan Jose Arrevalo.
This new development should en-courage Belizeans to support the Government’s proposal to take the dispute to the International Court of Justice at the Hague, where we have the best oppor-tunity to finally resolve this knotty problem. .