(For Immediate Release)
December 19, 2014
ASR/BSI CANNOT BE TRUSTED AS THEY KEEP MOVING THE GOAL POST!
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize denounces the conduct of ASR/BSI in their seeking to change the terms of the previously settled agreement without going back to the cane-farmers; having already conceded to the oppressive and unfair terms pushed by ASR/BSI with the intervention of no less than the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.
The latest blatant attempt by ASR/BSI to undermine the cane farmers comes in the form of them now not wanting the legally established Sugar industry Control Board to be removed as the regulating entity. They want by the agreement to slip in their own entity created and named the Harvesting Delivery and Control Unit effectively being an arm of ASR/BSI; and in contravention of the law. In the absence of negotiations with the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA); this provision was included in the draft agreement.
BSCFA has refused to concede to this provision because; apart from it being illegal, it is a blatant indication that ASR/BSI cannot be trusted and will stop at nothing to control and disenfranchise the farmers.
NTUCB opines that the bedrock of the sugar industry, the hardworking sugar cane farmers have been wrongfully swayed to give in to three points of negotiation that are already to their detriment. The NTUCB expresses it disappointment that the Prime Minster of this country would support the position of ASR/BSI over that of the famers.
The reality that the sugar cane farmers feel urgently pressed; to begin crop and have in essence, decided to proceed with signing off an agreement is tantamount to negotiations under duress. This kind of climate, compromises the very tenets upon which bargaining is built and is a sure fire way to result in the negotiating party; with the upper-hand coming out with an unfair advantage.
The NTUCB sees the current status of the agreement process as exactly nothing less, compounded by the complicity of the government and its political directorate.
The NTUCB says to the Directors of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, all eighteen strong, DO NOT SIGN any agreement. Keep the negotiation window open as a signed agreement at this time; will only close off all potentials for the farmers to keep what they had on the table.
There is NO WAY these farmers, settling for fifty one cents per ton of bagasse as opposed to the $10.00 could be indication of negotiations of parties of equal bargaining power. The farmers agreeing tether dangerously on the edge of losing their ownership of the sugar cane; which has never been asked of them since the inception of the industry. This is indicative of the level of dominance and control ASR/BSI is positioning itself to exercise over the industry to their exclusion and with the blessing of the very government that was supposed to pressure for the best interest of the farmers; not the multi-national corporation.
NTUCB calls on the farmers to wake up and denounce the trickery that has been played on them and to realize it is not too late to stop the signing of this oppressive and economically crippling agreement being deceptively visited on them.
Wake up Directors – DON”T SIGN! Stand up and fight for the industry your forefathers have literally shed blood, sweat and tears to build.
NTUCB stands in solidarity with you! DON’T SIGN!!!