On Wednesday the management of BSCFA mailed a letter to BSI/ASR company and SICB with its official response to the proposal of a 7 year agreement that the months of arduous negotiations boiled down to. On Wednesday , BSCFA also gave them official notice that the Association is fully onboard with the writ of mandamus, being led by farmer Lucilo Teck and his attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd, to get SICB to set a date for cane delivery.
While the thought of unity is good news for the Association, it might not matter very much as there is reason to believe that in the coming days the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association could seize to exist. But don’t take our word for it. The recent resolutions passed at the last general meeting left the Association in such a position that the chairman of the BSCFA management committee Ezekiel Cansino sees no other possible outcome.
Ezekiel Cansino – Chariman of the Committee of Management of the BSCFA
“This might be the collapse of the Association. I hope I am wrong.
We will be losing all these opportunities from Fairtrade.”
Four motions were moved at the general membership meeting last Sunday, that left the Association on the brink of collapse. On one hand, the membership rejected BSI/ASR’s proposal for a 7 year agreement forcing the negotiations to continue. However, on the other hand, when the management asked for the farmers’ blessing to use more funds for the negotiating team to go back to the tables with BSI/ASR, the farmers responded with a ardent “No!” In addition to that, a motion was approved by virtue of the majority to have $4 million dollars distributed equally among the member cane farmers.
This is troublesome for the Association since they only have $1.5 million dollars in the reserve, meaning the Association would have to be liquidated to fulfill the farmers’ demands.
“If we paid even four million dollars to the cane farmers, obviously all the projects will be cancelled. Indeed, there was also a motion to defer all the projects.
So we will be giving out the money from the projects that was already budgeted and that reserve that we have. The employees that we have, we have to lay them off, because we won’t have any projects, so we don’t need them anymore here in the organisation.”
Plus News understands that there are already unofficial movements from certain members to start their own Association.
The Northern Caucus of the People’s United Party (PUP) issued a press release on Wednesday, expressing concern on the state of affairs of the sugar industry today and the delay of the crop season. The Northern Caucus says it calls “on the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) to fulfill its obligations under the Sugar Act and declare the crop open by the 14th January, 2015. At the same time we urge the Belize Cane Farmers Association and Belize Sugar Industries/American Sugar Refinery to resume negotiations to reach an agreement that is beneficial to all parties.”