The Belize cane Farmers Association is made up of 5,444 farmers, through 370 reaping groups and 18 branch associations. In response to BSI’s latest strategy, the BSCFA called an emergency meeting yesterday with its 18 directors where they decided to send a letter to the Sugar Industries Control Board (SICB) to take urgent responsibility.
According to Oscar Alonzo CEO of the BSCFA, the unprecedented move of BSI-ASR came as a complete surprise, though it had been alluded to earlier in the negotiations.
” We viewed this matter with grave concern, this new approach the BSI has embarked upon in order to try to settle a negotiation process. I think it has been mentioned that this has gotten us by surprise, indeed it has not, because we have been hearing this sort of approach being mentioned by BSI over the course of the negotiations.
The fact is, we were wondering whether they would have continued to proceed with it.
In any event, we had indicated to BSI what we would have been doing. The Chairman has mentioned that we have already, from last week, set today’s meeting, for us to discuss the way forward, in terms of this negotiation. We have already done that. We would be having a full-fledged Press Conference tomorrow in order to provide details, as to what we intend to do.”
A copy of the letter to SICB will also be sent to the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister of Belize. BSI-ASR and BSCFA are locked in a game of tug and war to gain the farmers support. So the question now remains, when the time comes, will the BSCFA executives stand alone without the support of the farmers?
“We don’t believe that that could happen. The farmers that were present today, they were contacting their respective Branch Directors before they go.
We advised them to go, to be informed. Many of them said that they will not be signing nothing yet, until the BSCFA, the association, advise them what will be the arrangement that we will be doing.
BSCFA intends to host an emergency meeting with its members tomorrow.