caneToday, representatives of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and ASR/BSI met at the head table at the BSI Staff Club to resume negotiations. The Association went in with the hope that the meeting would yield positive results and allow for the cane farmers and factory owners to prepare for the start of the crop season. Meanwhile, BSI went in with the hope to finalize an agreement. Our news team met with the leaders on both sides and what we can tell you is that at the end of the nearly five hours meeting, there seems to be a light at the end of the sugar-cane crop tunnel. Maria Novelo reports.


Maria Novelo – Reporting


Belizario Carballo – Financial Director, BSI/ASR


“We would like to feel that there is an opportunity to conclude the agreement but let see what we can work out in the next few days.”


The next few days will be critical and interesting to see as both parties have come to the negotiating table once more to hash out points in which they were not in full agreement. The three points at today’s meeting included that of the cane ownership, payment for bagasse and an interim agreement. Both entities have agreed into having internal discussions on these points.


Belizario Carballo – Financial Director, BSI/ASR


“We explored each other positions clearly we are still at the stage where clearly there is more discussion on it and both sides will have to consider certain things that were discussed and we have agreed that we will have to get back to each other on those three point, there isn’t at this stage agreement on those three point, the remain points that need to be agreed but there is a lot of good discussion today that allowed us to understand each other position on those three points and we clearly discussed what would cause us to be able to agree on those three point and to then finalize and agreement.”


Ezekiel Cansino, Chairman, Committee of Management, BSCFA


“I don’t want to go and say everything o those proposal but then we did present proposal referring to the point of time of the agreement that there were proposing with the seven years and we did discuss also on the ownership of the cane and on the baggage issue which we did expand and we spend more time on that issue specifically.”

Of most concern is the start of the Sugar Cane Crop Season on December 8th, which has been the ideal date proposed. Will history repeat itself where another late start would be recorded? Both sides felt optimistic at narrowing down the gaps.


Belizario Carballo – Financial Director, BSI/ASR


“If the crop does not start by that point then there is a clear risk that there will be and adverse effect on the crop and clearly both parties are keen to start that crop and the 8th is a target date and I think both parties are doing what it is required, what is necessary or what can be done to ensure that the crop is not unduly delayed and to start at an reasonable time, that date however is not yet known and what both parties agreed is that essentially we will give this opportunity to see if we can come to an agreement and ones that is determine we can then start a crop.”

 

Ezekiel Cansino, Chairman, Committee of Management, BSCFA


“They have just liked us, the concern of the beginning of the crop and we are clear on that that we need to start the crop and we are sure that they will be flexible and they will agree with our proposal or at least we will reach to an agreement soon.”


So for now, both B.S.I and the BSCFA have compromised, if only tentatively, on a way forward.


Ezekiel Cansino, Chairman, Committee of Management, BSCFA


“I think that they expected to finish today but since our proposals that we presented to them they say that they can’t decide today but even though if that would be the position of BSI to decide today we also have to inform our cane farmers but we believe that BSI will give us positive answers on Friday and I think that they will be flexible enough to reach to an agreement soon.”


Belizario Carballo – Financial Director, BSI/ASR


“Clearly being in discussion and negotiations and agreements for two years has not really been as productive as you may all appreciate we would want to have a clear agreement in which we would want to start the crop and not have to be at this every year and that is one of the arguments for a long term agreement that we can both side plan to build this industry as opposed to see how we can start this crop.”


And while the clock continues to tick down and time is of the essence, both parties are hopeful that a finalized agreement paves the way for a crop season to tentatively start next week. Maria N for CTV3!


No date has been set for another round of discussions but the entities explained that they are both conscious of time and so they will seek to accelerate and expedite the process.

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