For three weeks, the government has been trying to stabilize the citrus industry which ahs been crippled by a cash flow crisis at Citrus Products of Belize Limited. The company's bank First Caribbean froze their account because their board couldn't reach a decision on a new auditor. 11 Days ago, government announced its decision to step in decisively and bail out the industry by buying out its 15 million dollar First Caribbean Loan and fronting another 4 million dollars to ease the cash flow crisis. But even with that, it took days and days of meetings for all sides to agree on a way forward. That was done yesterday when all sides, the CGA, BHL, FCIB, GOB, SSB and the whole alphabet soup of the citrus equation finally signed an MOU. The details of that were shared at a prime ministerial press conference this morning at the Biltmore in Belize city and 7News was there:..

Jules Vasquez reporting
The MOU was signed on Thursday - it provides principally for a restructured governance structure for the Citrus Products of Belize Limited.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"Two persons nominated by CGA, 2 persons by BHL, so the balance is even up to that point in time and then the triumvirate of those who hopefully will be able to ensure that any logjam will be broken. One person nominated by Heritage, one person nominated by Social Security Board and one person nominated by the Government of Belize."

That should free up the governance bottleneck that has been immobilizing the company and crippling the industry:

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"Genuine interest on the part of both of the equity stakeholders, that is BHL and CGA to forge a way forward. There is the recognition that we hang together or we will hang separately."

Government says that if that fails, it retains the power to impose a nuclear solution:

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"The understanding that government or ultimately SSB together with the other lender Heritage Bank would be in a position then to pull the trigger then on receivership, and take the completely out of any sphere of influence of either of the two major shareholders."

And government or the social security get that trump card because either one or the other is putting in 19 million dollars - 15 of it to take over a loan at First Caribbean and 4 million by Monday to end a cash flow crisis:

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"In doing this SSB together with the government of Belize is acting in the best interest of the citrus growers, of the citrus industry, of the economy, of the national interest of our beloved Belize."

Doug Singh, Chairman - Social Security Board
"Those loans now on the request of CGA is being considered to be converted into shares of what CGA owns via its investment company in the factories."

Denzil Jenkins, chairman of the Belize Citrus Growers Association Investment Limited
"We want to seek to give comfort to the public as we hear lots of expressions concerning the government using they say the people's money to rescue the citrus industry. As the PM has mentioned, the funds that are going to be used by SSB gives SSB the opportunity of earning."

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"But if for some reason the SSB board of directors or the investment committee were to say no, government will put up the money."

The other issue is the polarizing CEO Henry Canton - will he go?:

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"The MOU speaks to the leadership of CPBL at the level of the chief executive officer or whatever he is called, I am not sure if it is general manager or chief executive officer - and makes clear that that issue will be dealt with by the new board of directors."

All in all, it's not a perfect solution, but it is meaningful and necessary progress in a critical national industry:

Denzil Jenkins, Chairman - CGAIL
"If we were designing the solution to the problem, it would not be as it is today. But when you are sailing in headwind, you have got to learn to make tacks."

The four million dollars in bridge financing to make long outstanding payments to farmers should be available by Monday.

Channel 7