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Sugar Industry Commission of Inquiry Holds Inaugural Meeting to Examine Belize’s Sugar Cane Sector

The long-awaited Commission of Inquiry into Belize's sugar cane industry officially commenced its work with its inaugural meeting on May 29, marking a significant step in addressing the challenges and opportunities within the sector. Established by Prime Minister John Briceño through a statutory instrument signed on March 19, the Commission aims to scrutinize the entire value chain of the sugar cane industry and provide recommendations to the Government of Belize.

During the meeting, the commissioners outlined a general plan for the initial phase of their work, which includes visits to sugar mills operated by BSI and Santander, as well as field trips to various sugar production sites across northern and western Belize. To facilitate these visits and streamline their in-country operations, commissioners are expected to arrive in Belize during the first week of June, with logistical support provided by the SICB.

While deliberations will not be open to the public, updates on the Commission's progress will be communicated through Mr. Hugh O’Brien, the Lead Coordinator. Additionally, the Chairman expressed willingness to engage in occasional interviews to keep stakeholders informed.

The Commission is tasked with submitting its report(s) by November 30, 2024, with anticipation building as stakeholders await the findings and recommendations that could shape the future of Belize’s sugar cane industry.

Convening virtually, the meeting was chaired by Mr. Wayne Piper and saw the participation of five commissioners: Mr. Robert Mariette and Mr. Vinod Ramharai from Mauritius, Mr. Jeffery Joseph from Belize, Mr. Andy Church from South Africa, and Mr. Simon Gibbons from the United Kingdom. Also present were Ms. Lorena Posada, Secretary to the Commission; Mr. Hugh O'Brien, Lead Coordinator for the Government of Belize; Mr. Marcos Osorio, Chairman of the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB); and Mr. Krity Neermul, Technical Coordinator for the Mauritius team.

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