Even with strong opposition and stern criticism from the opposition People’s United Party, the government proceeded to amend the Sugar Industry Act in the House of Representatives on January 19th and in the Senate the day after. Today the government informed the public that, that bill, was assented to by the Governor General, Sir Colville Young. As explained by the Prime Minister, the Act is to secure to all cane farmers the freedom of association guaranteed by the Belize Constitution.
This means that sugar cane farmers will choose freely whether to join an association or not. It also clears the way for the formation of any association and the Sugar Industry Control Board now has full power to register these associations. The manufacturers will also be free to accept cane from any association or from individual cane farmers or groups of cane farmers.
Every association may make its own bye-laws and standing orders to govern its internal management. In its release today the government states quote, “On the whole, the Act is designed to pave the way for the commencement of grinding seasons in a fair and equitable manner, after taking into account the legitimate interest of all stakeholders,” end of quote. The Act was published in the Gazette today, 21st January 2015, and copies are available at Print Belize, Belmopan. The Act shall take effect retrospectively from the 14th January 2015.
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