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Dec 3, 2014

BSI and BSCFA at the Negotiating Table

After a long period of hostilities from afar, A.S.R./B.S.I. and the B.S.C.F.A. are back at the negotiating table. Along with representatives of the Sugar Industry Control Board, both parties met in Orange Walk today in an attempt to mend fences and start the crop. The meeting in itself was progress of sorts, but the truth is that there is not much else to report. Neither side is divulging details on the discussions until they have had a chance to go back to their individual corners and consult their principals. So with that said, will there be a sugar cane crop season 2014 – 2015? And will it start next week Monday as intended? Mike Rudon was in Orange Walk today to find out, and he has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The meeting this morning started at around nine-thirty, and included representation from BSI, the BSCFA, the SICB and of course attorneys for the factory and farmers. The atmosphere was cordial, and indeed it has to be because both parties need the crop to get underway sooner rather than later. After more than six hours, they emerged at three-thirty. There weren’t many smiles, but BSI’s Belizario Carballo says the discussion was a good one.

 

Belizario Carballo, Financial Controller, BSI

Belizario Carballo

“As you are aware there was involvement on the part of the PM and the DPM in sort of crystallizing those points of agreement and today we try to focus on those points and she that if we can actually come to an agreement on those points. And that is what we did; we explored each other’s positions clearly we are still at the stage where there is more discussion and both sides will have to consider things that were discussed and we agreed that we have to get back to each other on those three points and there remain points that need to be agreed.”

 

Of five original points of contention, two have been discarded. So the BSCFA presented proposals on the ownership of the cane, the formula for payment of bagasse and the recourse of taking disputes to court.

 

Ezekiel Cansino

Ezekiel Cansino, Chairman, Committee of Management, BSCFA

“Yes we did achieve something at least we represented our proposals and we had enough time to discuss and during the discussion we exchanged more ideas and even though we cannot say we have reached to an agreement because we will be waiting for B.S.I. to present these proposals to their principals.”

 

BSI has promised to respond to the BSCFA by midday Friday, and the Association expects the response to be positive.

 

Ezekiel Cansino

“I think that they expected maybe to finish today but since our proposal that we presented, they said they can’t decide today but even if that will be the position of BSIO to decide today we also have to inform our cane farmers. But we believe that B.S.I. will give us positive answers on Friday. I think they will be flexible enough to reach an agreement soon.”

So will the crop start on December eighth? That is the optimal date highlighted by both parties. Starting too late after that date will mean heavy losses for the factory and the farmers.

Belizario Carballo

“It was signalled as the ideal start of the crop, in other words if the crop those not start by that it there is a clear risk that there will be an adverse effect on the crop. Clearly both parties are keen to start that crop and the eight is a target date and I think both parties are still working to make sure that the crop starts at a reasonable time. That date however is not yet known and both parties agreed to give this opportunity to see if we can move to an agreement and once that is determined then we can then discuss the start of crop.”

 

It would only take three days from the signing of an agreement to get the mill into full readiness to receive cane. Mike Rudon reporting for News Five.

 

As you may have noticed, both parties seem relatively positive, and both seem to feel that significant progress has been made. But one member of the team at B.S.C.F.A. told us off camera that indeed very little has changed, and the progress, if any, is negligible. In this case, only time will tell.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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