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Nov 17, 2014

BSCFA Awaits PM’s Decision

Oscar Alonzo

It’ll be an interesting week ahead. The farmers have stood strong, called out SICB and by extension GOB. The Prime Minister went on record first to offer to pay for an independent expert if the BSCFA wanted one. They did, and made the request in writing, after which the PM went on record again to say that he didn’t really want to get involved again since BSI/ASR clearly did not support the notion of an independent expert. It is, after all, a commercial arrangement, and the PM says he cannot force BSI to bow to the wishes of the cane-farmers. So that’s his position, but in the end the question is if the PM will bend in the face of the cane-farmers’ unity.

 

Oscar Alonzo, Chief Executive Officer, BSCFA

“In a way he is taking a position and that position seems to be in support of BSI/ASR. The thing is that he should weigh the issues and the consequences in terms of how it relates to the cane-farmers. We are saying that we are prepared to start the crop, and we would be happy with an interim agreement to begin the crop, but ASR is saying that they want a full agreement. And I don’t think even the Prime Minister would be happy for us to proceed with a negotiation process that would conclude a hasty agreement that would be harmful to the cane-farmers. I think they have the cane-farmers’ interests at heart. And this is why we are trying to let them be aware of what our decision was today, and we are hoping that he supports the process. We can still have a crop, there can still be an interim agreement, we can still sort out our differences during the course of next year’s crop because we cannot just sign for sign’s sake to suit a multi-national’s desire for certain conditions for their investments to succeed in Belize.”

 

At news time today the SICB has not notified the parties of any meeting planned this week.

 

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