BELIZE CITY, Sun. Jan. 9, 2022– The discord within the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association (CSCPA) is once more in the spotlight after the association’s board of directors sent out an urgent press release declaring that an annual general meeting (AGM) scheduled for Sunday, January 9, 2022, that is being publicized was not called by its members and is thus illegal.
Valdemar Puck, former chairman of the CSCPA, explained to local reporters last week, “This is a petition that we saw from this gentleman, Mr. Everaldo Uk, requesting to conduct a special meeting is the big question. He formally is not a member of this organization. He has been expelled for the past 2 years, so it is something that is very concerning. How can a non-member be applying for something as important as an AGM, looking at the situation with Covid, which makes it worse.”
According to Puck, Uk has not been a member of the association for about two years, and the association was informed, after seeking legal advice, that the meeting organized by Uk is illegal. The CSCPA also stated that such a meeting would put the association’s Fairtrade status at risk, since according to Fairtrade International, “any unwarranted breach of certification standards, will be dealt with in either a suspension or decertification.”
It is being reported, however, that over the weekend Uk was elected as the new chairman of the CSCPA, along with a new board of directors. As a result of the elections, a group from the CSCPA was awaiting the removal of Puck and his board of directors from the CSCPA building on Monday morning. However, Puck and his team were refusing to leave the building, since they do not recognize the newly elected board of directors as being legitimate.
In regard to how often an AGM should be held, Puck said, “Well, firstly, general meetings are held in the month of November, and those things that we need to have in mind, the same thing as October is used to do elections, so those are the time set, so it is very surprising that at this point in time anyone can apply for a special meeting for an organization which is private and conduct one as such. Number one is that this gentleman is not a member of the CSCPA; that is the first rule that is being broken there. I can clearly say it is an illegal meeting, and that is being addressed at this moment as we speak by our legal minds.”
Boards of the association are elected to serve three-year terms. Subsequent to the recognition of an interim board of directors of the association at the Corozal Civic Centre, there were elections in the four zones comprising the association: Zones 1 and 4 in 2017 (at which two directors were elected for a three-year term); Zone 2 in 2018 and Zone 3 in 2019. The terms of the members for Zones 1 and 4 thus reached an end in 2020; while the terms of those elected in Zone 2 ended in 2021 and the term of those in Zone 3 ends this year, 2022.