At a critical point in the state of affairs of the Sugar Industry a long awaited breakthrough has finally been made. There will be a crop and negotiations between the Belize Sugar Industry and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association will restart. This was agreed upon following a meeting among representatives of the BSCFA, BSI and the Sugar Industry Control Board.

 

The meeting took over four hours and at the end of the discussion, which at points became very tense, all parties agreed on three important points. Chairman of the SICB Gabriel Martinez spoke with the media but refrained from going into much details of the discussion. Here is an unedited interview with Martinez.

 

Screen_Shot_2014-11-25_at_8.02.36_PMGabriel Martinez- Chairman SICB


“The Sugar Industry Control Board met this afternoon to consider the request of the BSCFA and the points in the agenda was basically two of them; one was an update of the negotiation between the BSI/ASR and BSCFA as well the start of crop, as we agreed for the sanity and the good advancement of the negotiations, wish to first of all give thanks to all the parties that were involved, the BSCFA, BSI and representatives from government as well as independent members all parties agreed that we should start crop no delay of the crop and they also agreed that they are going to carry on the process of going back to the negotiations on the issue of the starting of the crop and I must say that it means a lot for the industry and basically, I wish not to comment on any details because that was agreed on and basically that is all what I can say.”


Reporter


“Can you at least tell us when the negotiations are going to start again between BSI and BSCFA?”


Gabriel Martinez- Chairman SICB


“Well, that is in the process as we mentioned that is very delicate and I wish not to jeopardize the process as was agreed inside there.”


Dalila Ical – Reporter


“Will SICB continues in the process now given this sudden turn?”


Gabriel Martinez- Chairman SICB


“Well, the SICB has always being monitoring and following it very closely the developments and advancement of this ongoing process and whenever we are called and find it fit that we need to intervene in the best interest of the industry we will always be there.”


Dalila Ical – Reporter


“We understand that in the beginning BSI out rightly rejected any participation from a third party, what is the feeling right now?"


Gabriel Martinez- Chairman SICB


“At this time I can only say that both parties agreed to carry on the process of the negotiation.”


Reporter


“Is it only going to be with the expert or is it only going to be within them?”


Gabriel Martinez- Chairman SICB


“Again, I cannot discuss the details because that was our agreement inside there and I think I have to stick to that so that we keep our confidentiality in terms of what was discussed as it is and we have submitted a release that speaks as to the reason why we prefer not to get into the details of the situation.”


Reporter


“Just for context, can you tell us that for the new crop season to start on the 8th of December, the old 2002 agreement is that going to continue running?”


Gabriel Martinez- Chairman SICB


“I cannot say that at this point, the 8th of December was basically identified as the ideal date to start crop but that is not set.”


Reporter


“What was the agreed date set now?”


Gabriel Martinez- Chairman SICB


“As I say the process is very delicate and sensitive at this time.”


Reporter


“Can you at this moment whether BSI will pull back this contract that has presented to farmers?”


Gabriel Martinez- Chairman SICB


“I am not sure, it is a very sensitive situation and the process is still ongoing and that is about it.”


Reporter


“In other words you are telling us that these four hours of meeting did not take anywhere?”


Gabriel Martinez- Chairman SICB


“Well, as I said I am very thankful to all the parties that came and there was much discussion with the idea that everybody is in agreement to start the crop on time it is big news for all those who have been following the industry that was not the position last year to start the crop and with that in itself is big news to start the crop and that is everybody is concern.”


In a brief release issued to the media, it states that quote, “parties are optimistic that negotiations can advance as expected, so as not to compromise the start of crop,” end of quote. All parties have identified December eight as an ideal time to start the crop, based on a crop of 1.35 million tons of sugar cane. We will have more on this story in tomorrow’s newscast.

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