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#500975 - 02/12/15 03:54 AM BSCFA “Limited”? Whodunnit?
Marty Offline

You have heard the name Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association or BSCFA countless times in our newscast, especially in the months leading up to the anticipated opening of the sugar crop in late January. Well, a separate issue has sprung up but this time regarding the association itself. Reports are that a new private company –Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association Ltd – has been registered with the aim of replacing the existing association and assuming its assets. Audrey Matura-Shepard told us today that she did advise some of the farmers on this matter but that she has nothing to do with the removal of the original BSCFA.

Audrey Maruta Sheppard

"I did help some cane farmers with advise on the structure that they needed. You have to recall that when the act was removed, when section 32 to 56 was removed - that had set up the system to justify there being their committees, their visional areas, their branches. So my advice to them was simply that you then need to be able to take that same system and incorporate it in your articles of association which sets out your system of governance. You also need to make sure you have your memos. It's a normal thing to incorporate any entity, so it would be yes. That's just suspicion and speculation, that's impossible. I believe that anybody who can register the associating has to be a cane farmer. You have to be able to subscribe on as a cane farmer. I as an attorney would not get involved in that, why would I do that. That is out right mischievous and misleading to say that. The fact that cane farmers recognise the need to go and incorporate, to me is nothing improper. The producers have incorporated under the companies act. Progressive has incorporated under the companies act and so has BSCFA.”

Well, the Prime Minister says the BSCFA remains in full because a provision was made for it in the revised law. He says the move to try and replace it is “dastardly” – and he hinted at who’s involved:..

Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister

"Again, I don't know, I can guess. I don't know which lawyer or so called lawyer advised those that subscribed to this new company. I don't know how there could ever have been any sense that to form this new company, would automatically mean that - that company can step into the shoes fo the BSCFA, the real BSCFA. It's a dastardly move man on the part of those who some how feel that they can usurp and remove the democratically elected leadership of the BSCFA properly speaking. And who feel they can as well, get after the people's assets. I would hope that they BSCFA will deal firmly with those who are behind this move."

According to the PM, the company was not properly formed with the word Limited in the title and so efforts will be made to have ti struck from the record. He also says that two of the BSCFA Directors who became directors of this company have now indicated that they were tricked.

In the Sugar belt, one side of the dispute is suggesting that the registration of the company was done by a faction of the association to steal the trademark of the 55 year-old association, and also undermine the authority of the committee of management. The other side is suggesting political operatives have been approaching the membership to join the Progressive Sugar Cane Producers Association. The accusation continues that once the majority of the association leaves, a move will be made to sell off its assets since it will be non-functioning.

So, what does the Sugar Industries Control Board have to say, as the regulatory body? We got a chance to speak with the chairman, Gabriel Martinez. He says that given all the strife that has happened within the Association, the industry does not need another quarrel within the BSCFA:

Gabriel Martinez - SICB Chairman

"After the amendment of the sugar act 2015, BSICB became the legal body, the body authorised to register associations. We received a request from 3 associations and after we go the requests and their by-laws, the SICB issued certificates of registration, which mandated by the sugar act 2015 is the legal entity to carry on registrations."

Daniel Ortiz

"As the regulating body, is it a concern to you that in the background someone from BSCFA registered as a limited liability company?"

Gabriel Martinez

"Well of course, because we have just gotten out of difficulties, especially with the BSCFA and I think the terrain, the environment is not that healthy or strong to be dealing with issues, sensitive issues as it pertains to other persons trying to do other things."

Channel 7

#501020 - 02/13/15 03:57 AM Re: BSCFA “Limited”? Whodunnit? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

More On BSCFA Limited

Last night, at the end of a very full news package, we told you about the dispute over a newly registered company called the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. Now, that is also the name of the real Cane Farmers Association - the BSCFA in Orange Walk. The suggestion made by Prime Minister Dean Barrow is that those who incorporated the company were trying to basically steal the BSCFA's assets and identity. That points to Fred Ortega, the Director for Orange Walk. With legal advice from Audrey Matura Shepherd, he was supposedly the moving hand behind the whole maneuver. Today - speaking with CTV-3 in Orange Walk in Spanish - he defended his actions as completely benign and said the Prime Minister's plan to strike out the company is what's wrong:..

Fred Ortega, Director - BSCFA (translated)
"The certificate is in favour of the caneros, in favour of the association, to clearly establish it, equal to the other associates within the Companies and Corporate act. This is all we were trying to do with the BSCFA. This is not a case of anyone trying to hijack BSCFA. Because this is not a new institution or new members, it is the same membership that would be covered within this name. For me, it is a pity that the prime minister wants to make this move, because for me what was done was to protect or to give validity to the association under the laws of Belize."

But the Prime Minister had a very different take on it. He says the stated objects of the new company make it clear what was the intention from the outset:..

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"The objects in the memorandum of association for this new company, state that the BSCFA has been abolish by law - the existing BSCFA, and so when this company is formed, the BSCFA, having become extinct, this new company can appoint a committee of management for the same BSCFA that has been abolished. Now, I don't know, I say again, which lawyer, offered that sort of advice. If you looked at amended legislation, there is a saving clause that makes it absolutely plain, that the BSCFA, which pre-existed the amendments, continues to be a recognized entity under the law - continues to be a legal entity and continues to operate under the egis of its bi-laws, except and until the members would vote to change the bi-laws. So, this argument that the BSCFA fell by the wayside and even if it did, that you can form a company using the name and take over. Presumably, that's what they want to get at - the assets of the BSCFA is absolute madness."

The PM told the media yesterday that he will try and de-register or de-list this company on the technicality that it does not include the word "limited" in its name. He added that two of the Directors - who are also Directors of the BSCFA - have indicated that they were misled into signing on.

Channel 7


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