A resounding no to BSI’s proposal that was the outcome of yesterday’s Annual General Meeting held by cane farmers at Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico in San Roman, Corozal.
A number of issues were discussed during the AGM but at the top of the agenda was BSI’s proposal to pay cane farmers 51 cents per ton of bagasse. After months of negotiations, the Board of Directors of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association went back to its members seeking approval or rejection for the proposal.
The outcome was as expected as cane farmers did not think twice when they ordered their directors to go back to the negotiating table.
“I know he is a giant company and he is chancing us cane farmers, he doesn’t know that three o’clock in the morning these men are already out and the women too and the fifty one cents cannot buy even a soap to what the shirt and the pants that the men dirty on the fields. I would like you to know that we are not fools, we know what the bagasse is putting in all your pockets but you try to lie to us but let me tell you this religiously that every penny that you steal from your poor brother you will pay for it on your death dead and that is in the bible."
“Señores si nosotros aceptamos que vengan a darnos el cincuenta y un centavo estamos perdidos porque BSI/ASR está haciendo está tirando para ver qué fácil somos nosotros de caer porque él está hablando de 17 que va hacer el precio bajo él va a dar cualquier precio que él quiera y la van agarrar y agárrelo si lo quieren como está diciendo ahorita, nos esta poniendo ultimátum el 30 de este mes para agarrar el cincuenta y un centavo i solo está hablando para este nao nada mas no está hablando si va a seguir o continuar con ello y no dice si va a pagar lo que utilizo los años atrás. Nosotros no vamos admitir ese cincuenta y un centavo levantémonos señores y señoras somos bastantes esa gente nos está comiendo todo hasta el cerebro porque saben hablar bonito.”
With the proposal rejected, the deadline of August 1st given to cane farmers by BSI to respond to their proposal and the payment for bagasse retroactive for the 2013/14 crop also becomes null and void. But that does not mean that negotiations cease.
Cane farmers passed a resolution that would see the Sugar Industry Control Board acting as an intermediary to the bagasse negotiations which cane farmers resolved would be extended to October 15th. SICB was also tasked to seek the assistance of international experts to resolve the current situation between the miller and the producer in relation to the bagasse negotiation and new Commercial Agreement.
Alfredo Ortega- Vice Chairman, BSCFA, COM
“The farmers did not accept the fifty one cents, what they have passed motion for we look forward to SICB to seek heir intervention into this situation for them to look forward to exports that will find a way for a solution for this situation that we are at this point. As you know within the industry we have three stake holders which is the cane farmers, BSI as the miller and SICB that represent the government so whenever two of the three cannot solve their problem then comes the third one in this case it is the SICB we are looking forward so that he can become like the referee between us and for them to seeks ways how we can resolve this situation between the cane farmers and BSI.”
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