The sugar industry has been out of the news for a while now. But it does not mean that things are honky-dorey. Today news was received that the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association has parted ways with its Chief Executive Officer. Our Orange Walk Bureau Chief Manuela Ayuso-Cantun has the story.
Manuela Ayuso-Cantun Reporting...
The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association is facing internal turmoil yet again. The services of the BSCFA’s CEO, David Madrid, was terminated today 9 months after he signed a three year contract with the association. Madrid was hired 2009 following the termination of then CEO Carlos Magana. A letter from the BSCFA’s Committee of Management to Madrid cited three main reasons for his termination: the delay in the implementation of fertilizer distribution to farmers using fair-trade funds, failure to negotiate with BSI for payment to farmers for Bagasse used for cogeneration and failure to negotiate a new agreement with BSI and the appointment of a BSCFA negotiator. Madrid however, says he believes his termination has more to do with the committee of management not being able to enrich themselves rather than the reasons cited in the termination letter.
David Madrid; CEO, BCFA
“12:30 today I was handed a letter terminating my services based on several reasons that they believe was why they would want me fired. Let’s just put it simply the fact of the matter is that back in July 25 the farmers had a vote of no confidence and they took away all their allowances. At that time the Committee of Management expected me to go up before fifteen hundred farmers and to tell the farmers that they were working and they deserve to be paid. And contrary I told them I was not going to stand up and lie to the farmers; that I cannot do that. I work for the farmers first and foremost. Since then they told me that they will terminate my services before the next AGM because I would not stand up to the farmers and fight for their allowances. I said but you guys have been a non-active Committee of Management. The fertilization program was directly related to their fault although Mr. Eck himself stated that the reason the fertilization program did not go on was because of policies and procedures. But the farmers knew better than.”
Madrid says he is seeking legal advice since the committee of management will not honour his three years contract
“The usual transgressions that the cultural practices that they have been doing for fifty years which enabled every member on the Committee of Management to become rich and to better themselves no longer exists. They purely exist to work for the farmers now without benefits. This is a practice that they could not take. They were under reform. They could not process what reform really meant and they want to go back to the old ways. Since I was not in tune to that, I did not agree with them they decided to terminate my services. I have a three year contract. They are not willing to abide by the contract; they are not willing to pay off the contract, they want to just pay me for thirty days so I will be seeking legal action. I will be seeing an attorney on Monday.”
We tried getting comments from the BSCFA’s committee of management but we were told that they were in a meeting.
Reporting for Love News I am Manuela Ayuso-Cantun.