By Benjamin Flowers
The Belize Sugarcane Farmers Association decided not to follow through on its threat to take industrial action against the sugar factory after it became evident that the Sugar Industry Control Board would not be able to gather all stakeholders for a meeting scheduled for this week.
Cañero leaders say they are prepared to sign an interim agreement to start the cane crop on time while they continue negotiations with the factory owners.
The position of the BCFA is that it will not relinquish ownership of the sugarcane to the factory after sale, as proposed by the factory and it does not accept the idea of a seven-year contract with the company.
BSI for its part, has flatly refused to consider an interim agreement. In a full page newspaper announcement this weekend, the company states:
“BSI/ASR cannot countenance another interim agreement, which will prolong the current climate of uncertainty and have long-term costly consequences for all…The past year has demonstrated that an interim agreement has not worked to produce the definitive long-term solution the industry needs”.
The company has concluded that “we have come to a fundamental impasse on bagasse”.
The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association had hoped for an early meeting of the Sugar Industry Control Board to kick-start its hard-line action against the company. It’s leaders even sought to add political muscle to their demands by consulting with Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, who is an elected representative of the sugarcane belt.
But the Control Board could not arrange a meeting on such short notice. The meeting will now be held on Tuesday, November 26. ….”
“We have decided to see what comes out of the meeting on the 25th, and see where we go from there, ” Association president Ortega announced.
The BSCFA called a general assembly of its members who met at the Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico campus in Corozal on the 15th and passed several resolutions.
The meeting agreed not to relinquish ownership of the sugarcane to the factory after sale, and not to accept the proposal of a seven-year contract with the company.
The position of the two sides has hardened and a head-to-head confrontation appears inevitable.
BSI is insisting that the company must take ownership of the
at some defined point.