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Dec 12, 2014

B.S.C.F.A. Reaches Tentative Agreement with ASR/B.S.I.

There is a concord of sorts between A.S.R./B.S.I. and the B.S.C.F.A., but we wouldn’t go dusting off that old cane truck and making merry just yet. Both parties sat down together this morning with Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega at the Radisson in Belize City. In a nutshell, A.S.R. representatives have accepted the final proposals of the B.S.C.F.A., which many think were concessionary to the point of being overly so. That should be decent, if not great news, but the B.S.C.F.A.’s negotiating team must now go back to the farmers for mass acceptance and support. If the farmers all say yay, then attorneys for both parties will hammer out an agreement, which means theoretically that the crop could start within a week. If the farmers say nay…well, that’s a scenario nobody really wants to contemplate. Mike Rudon was at the Radisson this morning and has an update.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

They walked into the Radisson just before ten-thirty this morning…first the B.S.C.F.A.’s directors and negotiating team…then local B.S.I. reps and A.S.R. reps flown in for the occasion. They were followed by Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega and then, Prime Minister Dean Barrow. There were no sticks, stones or tires in sight, but neither were there smiles and signs of obvious goodwill. The Prime Minister and his Deputy emerged at around twelve-fifteen, to deliver the good news.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I am pleased to be able to say that we have an agreement. Now of course it is subject to ratification by the general membership of the B.S.C.F.A., but at this level…the level of the directors and the C.E.O. and the B.S.C.F.A.’s negotiating committee, we have an agreement.”


Dean Barrow

That agreement, according to the PM, is not of an interim nature, but will be a final, binding, contractual document, for a period of seven years. The negotiating team has given up ownership of the cane and have accepted a payment of fifty-one cents per ton of bagasse.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“There’s an acceptance of the fifty-one cents with the provision of a review after three years and discussion about the possibility of an increase depending on whether or not BELCOGEN is profitable at that point.”



“What about the subsidiary products, or by-products, future by-products?”


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“There is an agreement on that…that if in fact there were to be any future by-products that would become the subject of negotiations between the B.S.C.F.A. and B.S.I./A.S.R..”


Mac Machlachlan

The Prime Minister seemed relieved and optimistic. A.S.R.’s Mac Maclachlan was not quite as optimistic or open with details of the discussion.


Mac Machlachlan, Vice President, International Relations, A.S.R.

“I don’t want to elaborate too much on the discussions we have had. I only want to say a couple of things. One…I believe that we have had some very constructive discussions today. I believe that we are on the right course to resolving a number of issues. There have been compromises on all sides and I am hoping that once B.S.C.F.A. takes back to their membership the kinds of ideas that we have discussed today we’ll be in a good place and we’ll be able to rapidly conclude an agreement which will lead to a rapid beginning of the crop, and that is fundamentally what we all want.”



“Sir is the discussion ended? You seem to be indicating that you are on the right course which suggests more discussion before coming to a resolution whereas the PM was saying that a final agreement just needs to be signed.”


Mac Machlachlan

“Well you know basically I don’t want to prejudge whatever is going to come out of the B.S.C.F.A. meeting on the weekend, we’re very clear on our position and I think we’ve reached, as I said, a very good point to be able to arrive at an agreement early next week.”


As both the PM and Maclachlan made clear, everything rests in the hands of the cane-farmers. They gave the B.S.C.F.A.’s directors and negotiating team the authority to broker the deal on their behalf, but they are a notoriously feisty bunch, and like we said, there is a belief even within the negotiating team that the B.S.C.F.A. has given too much, and gotten little or nothing. So there’s no telling what they’ll do on Sunday, when they find out that the agreement entails that they give up ownership of the cane, sign on to a seven year agreement and accept fifty-one cents per ton of bagasse. There’s a reason B.S.C.F.A.’s Chairman Ezekiel Cansino is not smiling.


Ezekiel Cansino

Ezekiel Cansino, Chairman, Committee of Management, B.S.C.F.A.

“We believe that there is a need to start the crop and the proposals that we gave to A.S.R. we think is the best that we can give them and we will try to present it to the cane-farmers that it is the best for everybody in the sugar industry.”



“Are you a little concerned about that meeting on Sunday, about convincing farmers, the thousand plus who usually attend, that what you did was the right thing?”


Ezekiel Cansino

“Of course we are concerned about that, and we will try our best on how to present it to them.”



“Sir right now you don’t feel relief? Like the Prime Minister seemed relieved that we have something that can work, that you all agreed to. But you won’t be relieved, if at all, until Sunday.”


Ezekiel Cansino

“Until Sunday. That’s definite. Until Sunday we will know about that.”


If the meeting goes well on Sunday, the agreement could be signed as early as Monday or Tuesday, which means that the crop could start on Friday. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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1 Response for “B.S.C.F.A. Reaches Tentative Agreement with ASR/B.S.I.”

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