Citrus farmers in the Stann Creek district were today informed that they would not be receiving payment for orange deductions for the month of February. Over three million dollars in payments was to have been made today; but the Citrus Products of Belize Limited informed its parent company, the CGA late yesterday that it would not be able to meet today’s payment deadlines.
Chief Executive Office for the Citrus Growers Association Henry Anderson told Love News today that the late notice of the inability to meet the payment deadline has greatly inconvenienced citrus farmers. Citrus Products of Belize Limited has offered to make full payment to the growers in two phases. According to the schedule, CPBL intends to pay one point nine million dollars plus interest to farmers for deductions during the period of February seventh to February fourteenth at the end of the month.
The promise is that all cheques, dated March thirty first will be released next Friday afternoon. The second phase of payments will be for deductions during the period February twenty first to February twenty eight. Those cheques will be released on the afternoon of Friday, April thirteenth. In addition to making the delayed payments, CEO Anderson says that the farmers are now expecting CPBL to pay them interest at the current commercial rate of thirteen percent so that the farmers do not have to bear the brunt of any losses caused by the delay in paying them by CPBL. The two sides were scheduled to meet at eleven o’clock this morning, and we hope to have an update on the outcome of that meeting in our six o’clock news report.
The release sent out this morning by the CGA notes that the Committee of Management has denounced CPBL’s last minute notice of its inability to pay farmers as scheduled to be totally unprofessional, especially in view of goodwill displayed by growers in assisting CPBL with its cash flow problems.