Screen_Shot_2014-12-22_at_6.46.22_PMOn Friday when we left you tensions were rising between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and the Belize Sugar Industries Limited. This is after BSI was accused of acting in bad faith and undermining the Sugar Cane Production Committee after they allegedly sought to introduce a new provision on the draft agreement sent to the association.

The BSCFA claimed that the intention of BSI was to replace the SCPC whose role is to coordinate the cane harvest, delivery procedures and cane rejection procedures, with the Harvesting and Delivery Control Unit, something which they are not in agreement with and rejected the first instance it was proposed by BSI during the negotiations.

Late Friday evening BSI’S Financial Director, Belizario Carballo Jr., refuted the allegation by stating that when it comes to the HDSU that proposal was removed from the draft agreement back in October 9th 2014 after it was presented and rejected by BSCFA.

The misinterpretation of the draft agreement apparently lies within clause 2.3 which provided for BSI, as owners of the cane, the right to reject cane.  The process and criteria for cane rejection would be developed and agreed between the parties in consultation with the SCPC, providing for the SCPC to administer the cane rejection procedures agreed to by the parties.

If you noticed we used the word provided and that’s because when we left you on Friday BSCFA refused to sign the agreement and sent a counter proposal for clause 2.3 to BSI. BSI responded over the weekend and according to Carballo, there should be no more point of contention.

Belizario Carballo Jr.- Financial Director, BSI

“Was the point of disagreement essentially and up to Friday and up to then on the draft that we presented to them the position of BSI had changed overtime for the period of the week to make it clear that it is the SCPC that will in practice be looking after those procedure and that in fact those procedures will have to be agreed with the BSCFA before they are implemented and so that clause read like this; it says BSI shall have the right to reject cane prior to a load of cane being weight and ticketed at the factory scales, that is one sentence, and then it continues to say, such right shall be excise in accordance with the process and criteria to be develop and greed between the parties, meaning BSI and the BSCFA, in consultation with the SCPC, so the role of the SCPC was recognized on that provision and this went back to the BSCFA on Friday and they came back to essentially, they objected to that first sentence, they objected to the provision that BSI retains the right, we feel unfelt at the time very strongly.”

On Friday when we spoke to Carballo he indicated that BSI stands firm in their position. So why the sudden change of heart?

Belizario Carballo Jr.- Financial Director, BSI

“Nonetheless, in a spirit of continuing compromise and seeking to finalize the agreement over the weekend we revisited this clause and we agreed, we accepted the BSCFA  proposal to remove that first sentence and so that first sentence no longer is a part of the proposal that we sent to the Association over the weekend, we sent them a revised draft where we essentially revisited that point ad now clause 2.3 read ; prior to a load of cane being weight and ticketed and this is really what they had proposed, prior to being weight and ticketed at the factory scales cane will be rejected in accordance with the process and criteria to be developed and agreed in the parties from time to time in consultation with the SCPC, so it is just one sentence, it is just one provision, it is just making clear two things; one, that the criteria and process to be followed for cane rejection is to be agreed between BSI and the BSCFA so no one party can put on any criteria it has to be agreed between both parties and secondly it is making clear that it is the SCPC that will administer those procedures once agreed.”

Carmelita Perez – Reporter

“So it will go back to how it was or how it has been done for the past four years?”

Belizario Carballo Jr.- Financial Director, BSI

“Exactly, we go back exactly what we have been doing for the past four years, that is in fact what we have intended in the previous draft, except that we were trying to retain a right to reject, despite the fact that you are saying that you will delegate that right to the SCPC we were seeking to retain that right which we feel to be fundamental, but in the spirit to seeking to conclude an agreement. We feel to be fundamental, but in the spirit to seeking to conclude an agreement we have accepted the BSCFA proposal to remove that sentence from 2.3. In practice we recognize that in fact, last crop only 22 trips were rejected our of 120,000 trips and so is just to put it in context as to what we are talking about and in fact the objective is to have no cane being rejected because it is not in the interest of the industry to have cane being rejected it is a waste when that occurs, it is a waste for the mill and for the farmer, it is cost and so the objective is to avoid any cane rejection and so we feel that working through the SCPC, working along with the BSCFA to agree proper procedures for cane rejection and harvest, in practice we can agree on procedures to achieve that objective."

BSI strongly believes that with the revision of clause 2.3 the agreement will be signed and crop will commence.

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