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#499948 - 01/15/15 03:51 AM Farmers Signing With ASR/BSI  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,664
Marty Offline
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BSI has started signing contracts with cane associations and growers groups. This evening, the company sent out a public notice saying farmers representing production of more than 400,000 tons of cane have made petitions to the Sugar Industry Control Board to enter into independent agreements with BSI. And, today announcement says, quote, “the process for signing agreements between BSI and these groups of farmers has now commenced.” End quote. So the process which started in mid November 2014, when BSI appealed directly to farmers, is now coming to fruition two torturous months later: many, not all, farmers are signing directly with BSI.

But, there’s not much to celebrate in sugar-land. After five decades, the BSCFA is substantially splintered, the crop is starting five, maybe 6 weeks later than it should have, and the Fair Trade funds have been plundered to keep the farmers going during months of uncertainty and no income.

Indeed, from the outside, it seems to be a fractured industry but one that’s held together by a single supply and demand imperative: the farmers need to sell their cane, and the BSI mill needs that to make sugar.

Much of the blame for the ruinous state of affairs has fallen on government – which is accused of not standing up enough for the farmers. Tired of hearing that narrative – which the Barrow Administration believes is manifestly untrue – today government trotted out the Attorney General and the Minister of Labour – to put out their side of the story. Minister Elrington said “nonsense” to the narrative.

Jules Vasquez

"It's been put very squarely at the door of the government; that government is to blame. The government failed to side with the farmers, that the government sided deliberately with ASR-BSI and thus the farmers having no choice are entering the season sundered and defeated by the multi-national in concert with the government. How do you respond to that criticism?"

Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Attorney General

"That is the misinformation that is being put abroad, it's utter nonsense. Any politician knows that he would be committing suicide if he goes against the people. Our mandate really is to represent the people and to do what is their interest. They're the people that are going to vote for us, not any foreign multi-national cooperation."

Jules Vasquez

"Leader of the opposition has said that the government, while he accepts that the government could not have forced the opening of the mill; He has said that the government should have acted, should have appeared at the negotiating table with the BSCFA against ASR-BSI and told them; Listen we two stand here, you stand on the other side. You must do what we two shareholders say. How do you respond to that?"

Hon. Wilfred Elrington

"That is not the kind of thing a responsible leader would do. They can leave this jurisdiction anytime and go, and who's going to be the worst of it? The Belizean people, the entire Belizean people. The sugar industry is one of the most important industry for the country of Belize. Provided us with a tremendous amount of foreign exchange, revenue, employment. People in Pickstock division are involved in that industry. The last thing our government would want to see is for the industry to leave the country."

Jules Vasquez

"I think the cane farmers association made a mistake when they voted to go along with this mandamus strategy, when very deliberately at that session their attorney Chris Coye told them, this deal is the best deal you're going to get right now."

Hon. Wilfred Elrington

"Chris Coye is perhaps one of the best commercial lawyer the country has and his advice to my mind is the exact advise I would have given to my client. You can't discount the value of the deal that they had. I certainly thought it was a mistake to go to the court. Going to the court doesn't cost the attorney anything, matter of fact that's how the attorney earns his or her living but it cost the poor cane farmer. The position of the cane farmers historically has never been strong. You have a perishable crop, the crop cannot for more than a few weeks, other wise it starts to rot. So you don't have much cope to negotiate, you don't have a very strong negotiating position. People have mortgages to pay. People have loans, so you have to take all this into consideration if I don't agree with the proposal that you are putting, what next?"


"The last crop season, they continue negotiating with an interim agreement and now we hear BSI saying that they will refuse an interim agreement. They basically want to pressure the farmers to sign a new agreement under their terms."

Hon. Wilfred Elrington

"Because an interim agreement is beneficial to no one. These have invested millions of dollars that begin to shareholders. They can't afford to be held hostage at the beginning of every cane crop."

Hulse Says Farmers Got A Fair Deal

And, hostages no more for sure…today’s announcement from BSI/ASR says, quote,

“Any group of farmers (which wishes) to sign an agreement with BSI can request a copy of the agreement from BSI.”

It adds that, quote, “BSI expects soon to have sufficient cane committed…which would allow for the parties to then agree on a start of crop date.”

BSI says “the agreements need to be signed by the individual farmers…to complete the signing process.” So what are they singing unto? Well, it’s the “cane compromise” hammered out by Prime Minister Dean Barrow – and depending on who you listen to: it’s either a raw deal, a fair deal, or the best deal the farmers are going to get. Labour Minister Godwin Hulse said today, it’s not perfect, but it’s not terrible either:…

Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Labour

"It's not the best thing since slice bread but as a business person and who have been involved in this process a long time, I look at incremental improvements, here we go. 65/35 remains, there's no change their. The next trip value, what the deductions from that are the same as they have always been. The payment of 80% after the first week of delivery, continues and the reason for that is because it is a rolling estimate, so they can't pay 100%. The remaining 20% is paid in 2 increments, I think it's 5 Wednesdays after the crop ends and the first week in November has always happened, so all of that remains. What has changed? Previously, there was no payment at all from bagash and now there is. Whether you agree with the formula or not there is some payment with a view that in 3 years time you can revisit that formula."

Julez Vasquez

"But ownership of the cane, a lot of that pains the farmers greatly, surrendering ownership."

Hon. Godwin Hulse

"I really can't wrap my mind around that, I must be honest, I cannot wrap my mind around that because; My understanding from the farmers, the reason why the wanted to own the cane, and I'll be honest as I always am, if I was negotiating this and I say you want to own the cane, I have no problem with you own the cane because nothing changes. The fact of the matter is, I think the reason they wanted to own the cane or have the concept of ownership of the cane is so that if there is any additional products to be derived from the cane that they sell, they want to be able to share in a part of the venue and that has been included in the agreement. Now they're been paid for sugar and molasses and bagash and there is a clause in that says any additional thing that comes up.”

Channel 7

Crop Season Should Start Soon

Ezequiel Cansino

Still yet, the petition to gather as many signatures approving the endorsement of the agreement has been described as B.S.C.F.A. yielding to pressure being brought by government, as branch directors have gone on record to voice their discontent for not getting the best deal.  But farmers are cash strapped and after Thursday’s press conference by the prime minister, there has been a sense of defeat among them.

Isani Cayetano

“Is this the B.S.C.F.A. buckling under pressure, bowing under pressure seeing as though these individual farmers who make up the membership of the B.S.C.F.A. are cash strapped and the fact that delay of the crop is affecting them financially?  Is this now the B.S.C.F.A. giving in to what B.S.I. has proposed?”

Ezequiel Cansino, Chairman, Committee of Management, B.S.C.F.A.

“Well, since the AGM where the majority of the cane farmers present at that time that gave us the go ahead to sign this agreement, we had the feeling that the cane farmers they were accepting this without pressure or something like that.  But at the last AGM we saw that the cane farmers went and decided that this agreement was not to be signed and right now we are saying, well the cane farmers are saying go ahead and sign it.  I feel that maybe some cane farmers feel that they are being pressured to do the signing or giving us the mandate to go and sign but the need to start a crop is in everybody’s interest.  So I think that yes maybe we are having some pressure to sign this agreement but up to now we are having the majority of the cane farmers that are saying to go out and sign the agreement.”

Isani Cayetano

“Does this then spell an end to the impasse?”

Ezequiel Cansino

“I believe so.  By this maybe we will be finished with all this impasse that we have had from December up to now.”

Isani Cayetano

“Where would you stand concerning the ownership of cane, the payment for bagasse as a byproduct and what have you?  If you were to sign on to this present agreement that’s before you, what does the B.S.C.F.A. benefit out of what has been proposed?”

Ezequiel Cansino

“Well Isani, we have been discussing all these three issues in the agreement and when we decided to go ahead with or accepting this we did it with the eighteen directors.  Then we saw that the other three directors started to say no and you have heard and you know what has happened.  So in the agreement of the seven years we have said clearly that if nothing happens in the planning of the strategic plan, well in three years we can finish this agreement.”

Disbursement of Fairtrade Monies Continues

Regarding the use of Fairtrade funds being paid out to farmers, Cansino says that the suggestion to replace the spent monies with PetroCaribe dollars is a singular idea coming out of a splinter group of the B.S.C.F.A.  While agreeing that the disbursal will lead to decertification, Cansino says that the ball is already in play and farmers are already collecting their share of the four million dollar payout.

Ezequiel Cansino, Chairman, Committee of Management, B.S.C.F.A.

“Concerning this four million dollars that is being distributed or disbursed to cane farmers, at this time we actually, we will stay without Fairtrade funds.  So we will not be able to deliver those projects that were planned in December or November and we will definitely, we will not be able to do this project and we will be forced to dismiss some employees because we are absolutely getting broken up with that Fairtrade funds.”

Isani Cayetano

“But doesn’t that then affect the certification?”

Ezequiel Cansino

“Yes, Fairtrade has sent us letters stating clearly that we might be decertified if this happens and well it’s happening and we are already disbursing this money and we are delivering it to the cane farmers.”

Isani Cayetano

“In an interview that I conducted with the former vice-chairman Mr. Alfredo Ortega on Tuesday, he mentioned that for his respective branch which is the Orange Walk branch, there was a suggestion made in a meeting held where the government can be approached for assistance to replace what has been disbursed via PetroCaribe funds.  Has this conversation or suggestion been brought to the fore elsewhere within the B.S.C.F.A.?”

Ezequiel Cansino

“Well we had a meeting with the eighteen directors yesterday and Mr. Ortega was also present and he never mentioned anything about that so I cannot say anything about that.”

The B.S.C.F.A. will be hosting a joint press conference with the Belize National trade Union Congress on Thursday at midday in Belize City and we will have all the developments coming from that press conference.

No Petrocaribe Rollout to Replace Fairtrade Monies

Wilfred Elrington

While it has not to our knowledge become an official inquiry, there is increasing discussion in the B.S.C.F.A. asking government to roll Petrocaribe monies into the Association. According to officials, thanks to the forced disbursement of Fairtrade monies recently, there will be almost immediate layoffs and the shutting down of projects. They figure that since the industry is the lifeblood of the north and so critical, G.O.B. could see fit to hand over some money to replace that which was disbursed. So this morning we asked Ministers Elrington and Hulse for their thoughts. Let’s just say that if they speak for government, it’s not going to happen.

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“That would give me great trouble. It would give me great trouble to do that largely because when you get funds that are designated for a specific purpose they are supposed to be used for that specific purpose. If you don’t the people who provide the funds are going to sanction you. There are always consequences to be paid. And I can’t see how one would want to reward people who take that position. You know, deliberately, this is the situation…this is what the money is there for. You can’t just do what you want with it and say government come bail me out.”

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration

“Well first of all I have to say my friend that fifty-two million dollars of Fairtrade money went to that association. Every last penny! The miller got none. Last year they got eight million. The amount of Fairtrade quantity sugar was increased from fifty thousand tons to sixty-five. So they got eight million dollars. They’re only giving away, as far as I know, four plus one point five, which is five point five…they should have two point five left. I don’t see them breaking up because of that at all.”

As you heard earlier, Chairman Ezequiel Cansino said that the issue of Petrocaribe monies has only been brought up by one branch.  

Channel 5

#499975 - 01/16/15 03:56 AM Re: Farmers Signing With ASR/BSI [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,664
Marty Offline
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Two New Growers Groups Sign Contracts With BSI/ASR Tonight, it's official, after months of back and forth, two new Cane Farmers groups have officially entered into contracts with BSI/ASR.

The first to sign was the Corozal Cane Producers Association - which has teamed up with the United Cane Farmers Association. United is the first group that challenged the Cane Farmers Association's monopoly on membership back in 2009 - and got a Supreme Court Declaration to say that by their constitutional right to freedom of association, they could form their own growers association distinct from the BSCFA. Today at BSI's Boardroom in Orange Walk, Willie Magana who led that charge then said today's signing was historic:...

Willie Magana, United Cane Farmers Association
"I am very pleased to be a part of this historical day. I think this is a dream that started way back in 2008 or maybe long before. I've been hearing that they are blaming the Prime Minister for dividing the association, but I think we were divided long before 2008 and that was one of the reasons why myself and 4 other colleagues took the sugar act to the supreme court because it has compel us to belong to one group even though they were doing so bad, but we had to be under that group and for some time we were kind of being discourage. But today's vision was what maintained us together to be able to go there to the end."

Belizario Carballo, Financial Controller, B.S.I.
"Indeed it is a historic occasion. I think it marks the start of what we hope and expect to be a very productive, constructive partnership with the Corozal Cane Producers Association as a recognized player and new stakeholder in the sugar industry of Belize. It will be a new beginning for the industry in terms of opportunities for collaboration for working together between producers, cane farmers producing cane and the miller producing sugar."

Elvis Canul, Chairman - Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association
"Today is a historic day where the pioneers of this may not see it, but our children will have the opportunity to benefit from these changes that are being made today. And today marks a new beginning for our farmers and we commit with them that we will be at the very most forefront for their benefit in the work of the industry. Currently we have a registered list of new cane farmers that have joined this association with approximately 300 members of cane farmers and approximately tonnage of 100,000 tonnes total."

Belizario Carballo, Financial Controller, B.S.I.
"We are in the process right now of signing up agreements with groups of farmers. The Corozal Cane Producers is an association of farmers, but we are also signing up with groups of farmers, individual farmers and when we reach that requisite tonnage as we have said before, we will get together with those who we have signed with to determine the start of crop and as part of that, certainly the SPPC, the SICB will be involved. They have a role to play and we certainly on the basis of how much and how that grouping of farmers is structured - we will need to determine how the actual delivery arrangements will work. It's something that we will have to work closely with SPPC to sort out."

Mac McLachlan, Vice President, International Relations - ASR Group
"We said all along we need to get to a requisite tonnage signed to ensure that we have sufficient throughput to ensure that the crop could start and continue and we are in the process of signing up with individual groups and the farmers are signing those contracts as we speak."

Belizario Carballo, Financial Controller, B.S.I.
"The trigger point will be getting that tonnage - that quantum which will make the operation of the mill viable. Once we have that tonnage secured and we are able to them come up with delivery arrangements, that shouldn't take long for us to be able to them start the crop."

And by this evening at 5:00 pm, another, larger group had signed with BSI/ASR. That is the Progressive Sugar Cane Producers, with growers from Patachakan, San Estevan and Guinea Grass. They have a combined three hundred thousand tonnes of production. That is significant because, added to the one hundred thousand tonnes from the Corozal group this morning, it comes up to four hundred thousand tonnes - and when you add BSI's one hundred thousand plus tonnes that they have in their fields - it breaks the five hundred thousand tonne minimum that is needed to start the mill.

Cansino Says BSI Boxing Out BSCFA

And so, while the BSI/ASR is doing brisk business with the new groups, what about old faithful, the BSCFA? That five decades old organization yesterday wrote to BSI/ASR saying its Directors have agreed and it is willing and ready to sign. The letter says they are also ready to go to another general membership meeting to get a resolution if necessary. But they say BSI hasn't answered - and late this evening, Chairman Ezequiel Cansino told the media that he feels BSI is disrespecting the BSCFA. We couldn't make it to that late evening press conference, but at this morning's signing ceremony, ASR Vice President Mac McLachlan did give a dubious response.

Mac McLachlan, Vice President, International Relations - ASR Group
"This is a new scenario now. We need to consider who it is the BSCFA are representing at this point and who is signing separately, but we are giving consideration to the latest letter that we've received."

McLachlan says the letter is with BSI's attorney.

NTUCB Lashes Out On Cansino

And while Chairman Cansino is getting a cold shoulder from ASR/BSI - he also got hit below the belt today by union firebrand Audrey Matura Shepherd. The occasion was a midday press conference in Belize City held by the National Trade Union Congress of Belize. The union group lamented the way things have gone for the cane farmers, and Audrey Matura-Shepherd pinned it on Chairman Cansino:..

Alfredo Ortega - Director, BSCFA Orange Walk Branch
"What they are trying to do in that regard is to intimidate the farmers, that if you don't sign this document, you won't be able to deliver your cane and that is b@#^*#!t. Why I say that? It's because the act says that a farmer once being registered by the sugar cane production committee and the season is open, you have that right to deliver your cane. So, I want to see, once the gate is open which of those farmers that didn't sign won't have the opportunity to deliver their cane."

And turning to the signing of contracts, and who will be allowed to deliver, Fred Ortega insisted that even those who do not sign can deliver:..

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, attorney
"Is Mr. Cansino now going to bend over for Mr. McLachlan... bend over further and amend their by-laws? Because it's amazing how we have ASR giving instructions to SICB and now we have ASR giving instructions to BSCFA. Mr. Cansino needs to grow some b@#^s and take control of his organization and let them know who is the boss. Cansino is not there representing himself. He has to obey the by-laws. It's like our vice president say - it doesn't matter if our president is here nor not. Our general council, we have rules and we abide by them. They have to abide by that, so it is amazing. We want to see what is the development, because clearly, the vote of no confidence that was being called against Mr. Cansino will then have to go through. He cannot allow no foreign entity or any private organization to divide his organization when there are by-laws that say how to operate. So, I really want to see how that will work. You see how far this goes? You see the minute you allow someone to take away your dignity, how they will drag you down? I call out Mr. Cansino on that. I spoke to his personally about many things and I know for a fact he has coward under the skirts of his party and now under the skirts of BSI/ASR and those are some big skirts."

We should note that the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association sent out a rare press release today saying that it was not holding any press conference with the NTUCB. He said those who attended, namely Ortega and Financial Controller Javier Keme do not represent the official position of the BSCFA. The press release was signed by Chairman Cansino - which surely earned him some of that vitriol today.

Evan As Hope Fades, Fred Ortega Still Pointing Fingers

As we told you at the top of the newscast, it's a historic day in cane country - after two breakaway associations representing combined production of four hundred thousand tonnes of cane signed independent agreements with BSI/ASR. That means that with at least a combined 500 thousand tons of cane, the crop season may be able to start in a week or ten days.

That pretty much means "game over" for the naysayers - who have held countless press conferences and interviews to urge the farmers to stand strong.

Today, in one last swipe at what he considers lamentable circumstances Director of the Orange Walk Branch Fred Ortega blamed it on the Prime Minister:..

Alfredo Ortega - Director, BSCFA Orange Walk Branch
"What was done was to open the minds of the farmers for them to make better decisions on their future. That is the situation and the farmers are in that mentality, that they are being cornered, because they are not signing this agreement in their willful understanding. They are signing this because they are cornered and they want a crop to start because they don't want to lose what they have, because 99.5% or 100% of the farmers owe a financial institution. And if they are unable to pay back, none of the financial institutions will come and pat their shoulders and tell them forget about what you owe and continue your life. That will never happen. So, those are the factors that really cornered the farmers to sign that document and most of all is what the Prime Minister said in his press conference. That has what cornered the farmers more to do those signatures."

Channel 7

#500021 - 01/17/15 03:47 AM Re: Farmers Signing With ASR/BSI [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,664
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Cane Farmers Cave: Special Assembly Sunday, Signing Monday

The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association will hold another special general assembly on Sunday January 18th. This one is to undo what the last one on January fourth did. Around 5:15 this evening in Orange Walk Town, Chairman of the Committee of Management Ezequiel Cansino told the media that the Branch Directors have met and agreed that this is the Best way forward.

Again, they are having this meeting to pass a resolution which will renounce the resolution they took two weeks earlier. This is so that BSI can accept the BSCFA signing unto the agreement.

PM Says BSCFA Led Astray By Extremists

If it seems like a lot of needless back and forth, it is. Because if and when the Cane Farmers sign the agreement on Monday, it will be to the very same agreement they rejected 15 days earlier.

That's when the cane farmers voted overwhelmingly to reject the cane compromise agreement. Activist and Attorney Audrey Matura Shepherd convinced the gathering that they could ask the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to force the Sugar Industry Control Board to declare the season open without the new agreement.

After that, the Cane Farmers Association sent BSI a letter saying it had resolved to reject the agreement. Since then, much has changed in the landscape of the industry - and the cane farmers have been forced into a position where they have no option but to sign the agreement. Except that BSI's attorneys advised the company that before the BSCFA can sign, its general assembly would first have to reject its own January fourth resolution. Now, the BSCFA was hoping to work around that. It took a survey of three thousand of its members who agreed to sign the agreement as a demonstration of clear intent. But still BSI held that it wasn't enough - which made the BSCFA members feel that they were being pushed around.

They turned to the Prime Minister. He today held a meeting with ASR's Vice President of International Operations Mac McLachlan in Belize City to urge him to allow the BSCFA to sign the agreement, and worry about the details later. Now, it's important both politically and practically because even though this has been the worst week ever for the BSCFA, they still control the majority of the cane production and have the membership of three thousand plus cane farmers - more than 50% of the total.

In prepared remarks for the press at his Belize City office today, the Prime Minister said the BSCFA was led astray by bad advice - and he didn't mince words about who gave it:..

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"It is thus a shambolic state of affairs for the BSCFA, caused solely by the demagoguery, irrationality and terrible legal advice of a minority bunch of megalomaniacs."

"Government must, of course, once again intervene to try to save the day; to rescue the BSCFA from this existential predicament into which the extremists have placed it. Because, you see, the real BSCFA is the mainstream BSCFA, the majority BSCFA, not the misguided Matura/Ortega fringe. And the real BSCFA, the BSCFA of history and heritage, is one well worth saving."

"I have therefore said to ASR that a way must be found to allow the BSCFA to sign without going back to the General Assembly."

"ASR has agreed to take this up with their principals and to get back to me earliest. There is, of course, still time since the crop can in any event not start before the week of January 26."

"I am confident, then, that these last remaining hurdles will be cleared, the BSCFA will be allowed to sign, and the overdue crop in which every last cane farmer will participate on an equal basis will commence sometime in the week of January 26, 2015."

And so while there are at least 10 days before the start of the crop - in the end, the PM's persuasion was not needed, the Cane farmers are going back to another Special General Assembly on Sunday - and if all goes as expected there, then, the Cane Farmers will sign the agreement on Monday. They did that based on this letter from BSI/ASR which was sent to the BSCFA today. In it, Financial Controller Belizario Carballo says, quote, "it would be preferable for this issue to be put before another general assembly meeting." End quote.

And so, the road to signing an agreement for the BSCFA is set, but, until it is signed, there are abiding misgivings between the cane farmers and the company. Today, we asked the Prime Minister about the possibility of a divide and rule strategy:

Jules Vasquez
"Sir are you concerned that this may be a perverse strategy on behalf of ASR and BSI to: A) issue some retribution for the farmers who made them wait, well I shall make you wait, or second to deal a deathblow to the BSCFA, because, if farmers start to conclude that the BSCFA won't be allowed to sign, then they be more mass defections to these other organizations which have signed?"

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"As to whether there is any hidden agenda behind what is put forward as being dictated, strictly be legal considerations…I can't say, I would hope not. In any event if there is any thought of playing the waiting game in an effort to as it were discourage the BSCFA, I am here to say that can't be allowed to happen. I am here to say that what I describe as the real BSCFA must be protected, must be safe guarded. So I repeat, SOME WAY HAS TO BE found to allow the BSCFA to sign. If for whatever reasons they can't or don't want to go back to the general assembly, they must nevertheless be allowed to sign."

Jules Vasquez
"Now you have maintained throughout that you cannot force ASR/BSI to do anything, but in this case, you are using all your executive force..."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"That was of persuasion, because, you are perfectly correct. I figured you will be way ahead of the game. If I couldn't force BSI to open the factory gates, I likewise can't force them to accept the BSCFA signature on the basis really of the branch authorization. But, that is why I am putting it in the public domain. I would dearly wish to persuade BSI to allow this to happen and what I can say, not a question of any sort of executive authority, but the force of circumstances, you cannot have a crop without the BSCFA."

And, again, tonight, things look generally encouraging…that there will be a crop with the BSCFA likely signing on as early as Monday. But, as we've learned in the past months of this protracted dispute, anything and many things can happen in just a short time, so we'll wait and see how it goes at Sunday's special meeting.

And that's because the meetings are known to be run with a very loose form of democracy akin to controlled chaos. For example, at the last meeting the Chairman told us Audrey Matura Shepherd would not be allowed to address the assembly, and then there she was, speaking for 40 minutes, effectively swinging the vote to reject the proposals. And while yesterday Matura-Shepherd and Ortega blamed the Prime Minister for abandoning the farmers and forcing them into a position where they have to sign, today he pinned the blame on them:..

Jules Vasquez
"The blame has been placed at your feet, that when you abandoned the cane farmers association at the press conference, that's the interpretation that has been given, that you abandoned the cane farmers association and sided with BSI/ASR. That again, interpretation given by your critics. The blame then for the forcing the farmers into what critics feel is an unfair agreement, rest with you."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"I don't care if you are just out of school. I don't care how dense and thick headed you are, you must know if you have a practicing certificate that an application for judicial review is a two-stage process. You must know that there is just no way you can get a mandamus at the time you make an application for permission to apply for mandamus. to have fooled farmers into thinking that the court will be approached one morning and by days' end there would have been some order of obliging the factory to open its doors, has to mean that the person that peddled that kind of nonsense is either a fool or a knave, I'll say no more."

Channel 7

Sugar Act to be Amended on Monday

And so ends our coverage of the critically complicated sugar industry tonight. On Monday there will be a sitting of the House of Representatives, where the government will push through amendments to the Sugar Industry Act. Today, PM Barrow confirmed that it will happen. He says that he does not expect the crop to start before the week of January twenty-sixth, and that will allow government to pass the amendments mandated by the 2010 Court Order.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“And I stress here, that those amendments do not go beyond the narrow compass directed by Justice Oswell Legall. The comprehensive overhaul of the Act that is also overdue will have to await full consultation with and consensus from all stakeholders. But in the meantime, the minimum changes necessary must be enacted now both to ensure Constitutional compliance and to operationalize the working structure under that Constitutional compliance.”

Late this evening, News Five was reliably informed that the B.S.C.F.A. has called a general assembly meeting for Sunday, at which the Association expects farmers to vote for signing on with ASR/B.S.I…for the final time.

Channel 5

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Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lil� Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
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Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
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Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
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