The NTUCB issued a press release urging the government to declare a starting date for the crop season, despite the impasse between BSCFA and ASR/BSI.
The release says that “the NTUCB offers its support and solidarity to the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA), in its plight to garner a solid agreement with ASR/BSI. It points government to the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB);6(1) which says, “ The functions of the
Board include the … (e) fixing, in respect of each year, after consultations with
the manufacturers and the Committee, the period or periods to be known as the grinding season, during which manufacturers shall accept deliveries of sugar cane from growers and cane farmers; and specifying by Order published in the Gazette the commencement and termination of each grinding season;”
The release says that in accordance with the Sugar Industry Act, “Board means the Sugar Industry Control Board established under section 3 of this Act”, which places the legal obligation and duty on the SICB.”
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize strongly calls
on GOB to pursue this as an alternative and legal avenue. The release says that, “Initiating the crop season, perhaps as early as Saturday December 27, 2014 will show good faith, avoid derailment of the process, and will leave room for the farmers to continue to negotiate a favourable agreement, that would engage them in a significantly reduced atmosphere of duress and would advance them closer to a level playing field.”