When we left you on Wednesday we told you about the negotiations that were resumed by both the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and ASR/BSI as it pertains to the current impasse in the industry. And while we they left the negotiating table with positive expectations and awaited a reply from BSI by today, tonight BSI/ASR held to its word and replied to the Associations points and proposals but let’s just say things are not looking up. Our sources at the Association say that the response from BSI/ASR was not in favorable terms and was mostly inclined to benefit BSI/ASR. At the end we will you be the judge as we managed to obtain that letter.
The letter states that and we quote “BSI has further considered BSCFA’s proposal’s discussed at the meeting on December 3rd and their response is being put forward in a sincere spirit of compromise and as a genuine attempt to effectively and in a practical way address the outstanding points.”
BSI is proposing that the legal matter (subject to the sugar industry act), raised at the meeting with respect to resolution of disputes to be discussed further and settled by our respective attorney’s. BSI also states that they will await a response from BSCFA following which both stakeholders can amend the draft agreement accordingly.
The letter also talks about the ownership of bagasse as it states that BSCFA indicated that they would accept the principle of ownership at point of delivery provided that whether or not that the cane farmers invest if BSI determines that the development, production and sale of a new future byproduct is economically viable then the parties would engage in discussing the investment and negotiate any potential investment and or a beneficial participation by cane. To this BSI is saying that they accept the proposal but with the provision that the parties recognize that one, “At the time the value products are limited to sugar, molasses and bagasse and two that if any future new value added product requires an investment any beneficial by a none investing party would be subject to the basic principle that the investing party would have the right to recover its investment and realize a reasonable return on its investment before any payment to the non-investing party.
As for the payment of bagasse BSI is sticking to its guns with the 51 cents per ton they stated though, that the company is prepared to revisit the payment for bagasse after the total investment in BELGOGEN has been recovered on that investment has been achieved.
So where we are in this seemingly never ending back and forth cycle? Well, from what we have been able to gather, BSCFA will be meeting with the Acting Prime Minister, Gaspar Vega in the hope that Government may be able to intervene and smoothen out the riffs the industry is currently facing. Farmers say BSI’s response has only added to the delay in the crop season.
This one should be interesting how it plays out but we’ll just have to wait and see what comes out of the meeting with the DPM, tomorrow and on Monday with the Prime Minister who is expected to fly back into the country on Sunday. We’ll bring you updates on developments to this story in Monday’s newscast.
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