Canton Canned from CPBL Print E-mail
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Written by The Guardian   
Thursday, 24 April 2014 00:00

henry canton.jpg - 64.54 KbHenry Canton has been officially fired as the General Manager of the Citrus Products of Belize Limited (CPBL). In the past few months, Canton had emerged as perhaps the most divisive figure in the Belizean citrus industry as he represented Banks Holdings limited and was in fact the moving hand behind decisions which were taken by Banks holdings. Those decisions led the industry into near brink  of extinction with farmers delivering citrus products but not being paid.
The impasse hinged on Banks Holdings executing their veto powers, through CEO Henry Canton, refusing to hire a new auditor to look into the accounts of the company. Without audited financials, First Caribbean Bank, which financed the operations of the industry refused to forward any financing to CPBL to pay farmers forcing the industry into uncertainty.

Realizing the severity of the situation, in mid February the Prime Minister himself intervened and a memorandum was signed where the Government of Belize through the Social Security Board took on the First Caribbean Bank’s 15 million dollar loan facilities to CPBL, additionally the Citrus Growers Investment Company would also sell shares to SSB. It also forwarded a 4 million dollar loan to CPBL as working capital to pay farmers who delivered produce. A major part of the agreement  was that a new CEO would be identified to replace Canton.

That move was finalized on Wednesday April 23 and while the settlement figures have not yet been made public, the Guardian has confirmed that Canton is no longer the CEO at CPBL. Negotiations were finalized on Wednesday evening and he was let go.

But letting him go from CPBL is one thing, getting rid of Canton altogether is another matter. The Guardian understands that Canton will remain in the inner workings of the industry as a director for Banks holdings.

Under the memorandum of understanding the Belize Citrus Growers Association Investment Company can nominate two persons. Banks Holdings has the right to two persons as well while Heritage Bank, the Social Security Board and the Government of Belize each can nominate one person out of which the chairman can be nominated.

With those conditions Banks exercised its right and Canton remains on the board much to the discontent of those within the inner workings of the industry who had thought that the MOU would have given space for a fresh start for the industry. But like it or not Canton remains and it is likely that his tenure on the board will be a center of discussion on Saturday in Pomona as the Citrus Growers Association holds a special Annual General Meeting at 10 to discuss this and other matters.

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 April 2014 12:53