No resolution in sight for sugar strike
Monday, February 2nd, 2009
The Sugar Cane Industry Control Board met in Orange Walk today for five hours but the news tonight is that cane farmers are still on strike. They have been on strike since Tuesday when farmers stopped delivering cane to Tower Hill in protest of the core sampling unit. The strike has crippled production at the factory and is now threatening Belize’s ability to meet its quota. That’s why today representatives from the Cane Farmers Association and the Belize Sugar Industries Limited met with Chairman of the Industry Control Board Nemencio Acosta in the hopes of solving it today. But in the end, it didn’t work; the impasse stands, and the general strike remains in effect. 7NEWS was in Orange Walk to find out why.
Eric Eck, Chairman – Sugar Cane Farmers Asociation: “There has been no resolution up to now and the cane farmers that you see here that are gathered, they have said that they will permanently go on strike until the core sampler is totally removed.”
Protesters warn of chaos in Guadeluope
Striking workers in Guadeloupe have warned of social chaos if the government in Paris and local business leaders fail to meet their demands. An alliance of 47 unions and local bodies launched their protest on January 20, over the cost of living. They are pressing for lower taxes, a 200 euro (US $255) salary increase and a cut in petrol prices by 50 euro cents per litre.
The French minister for overseas territories Yves Jego is on the island for talks aimed at ending the industrial action. The strike has shut down most shops on the island, with the few which remain open rapidly running out of goods. Public transport and state services have also ground to a halt. All petrol stations have been closed in a parallel protest by gas station owners who are angry at the arrival of newcomers to the market.
Guyana’s opposition leader Robert Corbin has criticized the government’s decision to import sugar to meet a shortfall in production. The Guyana Sugar Company is expecting a shipment of 2000 tons of sugar from Guatemala shortly.
But the agriculture minister Robert Persaud told the local media Caribbean that the local sugar industry is in serious financial trouble and needs to take full advantage of the price on the European market. He explained that while Guyana will receive $650 per ton for its sugar exports to the EU, it will be importing the commodity at just under $400 per ton.
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