Throughout the course of the negotiations with BSI, a faction of the negotiating team at the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association had been steadfast in what they say was obtaining a good deal for farmers. Up until the end of the negotiations, and joined by other parties, the group had remained vocal about their rejection of the terms of the new commercial agreement. Nonetheless, Alfredo Ortega, one of the persons at the forefront of the campaign against the signing of the agreement says he is content the crop has finally started but remains concerned about the conditions of the sugar roads.
“It has been a very rough road to reach to this point because of many issues that has transpired but as you know farmers are eager to deliver their cane also because if they don’t deliver they don’t make any money of what they have invested and today we can say and we can thank God because of the movement that is ongoing because there are many hurdles that the farmers are going through for them to transport their material to BSI mill because when we talk about access in regards to roads we have very little work being done on that, thanks to the weather that we are experiencing this week is that farmers are able to transport their material on those conditions of the sugar roads.”
In an interview with the press, the Prime Minister had indicated that the government will be spending at least two million dollars once more on sugar roads in both Orange Walk and Corozal Districts. The promise once again was that this would happen only and when crop starts. Ortega says that personally, he has not seen much work started as yet but has heard that some sugar roads in San Estevan and Patchakan have started receiving assistance.
“If you go to the other branches and especially to the Orange Walk branch and other branches around you can see that no work has been done as yet even though the chairman told us that the politician have said that they will make contact with the branch chainmen before they start so that they can see which are the roads that need attention immediately but we haven’t had any contact with nobody as yet in regards to Senior personnel from public works.”
Chairman of the Sugar Industry Control Board, Gabriel Martinez has told the media that technical personnel from the Ministry of Works have been conducting assessments and contracts have been awarded, while a few remain in process.
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