pmHere in the north there has been much talk about the current impasse between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and BSI/ASR. It is a topic that has been widely reported and followed by our media. But today the good news is that a solution to break the impasse might have been found as Prime Minister Dean Barrow says there are good chances that BSI and the Belize Cane Farmers Association can reach an agreement that could lead to the commencement of crop.

He made the statement after meeting with members of the Association including the branch chairs and members of the BSCFA negotiating team. But while the statement was made, there is very little detail being shared with the press about how both parties intend to settle into an amicable agreement. But, by the looks of things and from the generalized statements made by both the PM and Chair of the Committee of Management of the BSCFA, the association may very well be the first to be folding. Why do we say this? Well, in his statement the PM says that while the BSCFA maintains its position, it has made certain modifications in an effort to settle the matters at hand with BSI.

Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize

“There is movement and flexibility on the part of the BSCFA such as to convince me that if this is matched on the part of BSI/ASR we should be able to reach an agreement. The Government congratulates the BSCFA and commends the BSCFA on the position that has now emerged. Which position in our view represents a fair and indeed compelling basis on which negotiations can now take place between the BSCFA and BSI/ASR. I’m not going to get into the details of the BSCFA’s position. I will say merely that it demonstrates extremely mature leadership on the part of the BSCFA.”

But what are these modifications? No one is saying exactly. Time is ticking however and what remains an urgent focus is the early start of the 2014/2015 crop. On Tuesday both parties agreed and identified December 8th as an ideal time to start but nothing has been confirmed yet.

Ezequiel Cansino- Chairman BSCFA, COM

“This is we feel the best that can happen to the industry since we have an over production this year and our cane farmers cannot afford to lose none of that production so BSCFA is ready to negotiate and start the negotiations and to reach in an agreement that can be and will be beneficial to both parties BSCFA and BSI.”

Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize

“I have no doubt that the BSCFA position is a fair one, seeks to protect the interests of the cane farmers but seeks at the same time to be able to compromise with ASR so that the crop and the industry can go forward.”

So will there be an interim agreement? What modifications has the BSCFA proposed to their five point arguments? It’s not clear yet or at least all parties are remaining tight lipped about the details. What is of note though is that following the meeting with the Prime Minister, CEO of the BSCFA Oscar Alonzo was absent from the brief press conference held and left the room even before it started. It may appear that Alonzo has been placed in the back seat and Ezequiel Cansino is taking reigns of the negotiations as he sat side by side with the Prime Minister, who reiterated that the association’s move now opens a door that may bring closure to the impasse in the industry.

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