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Dec 31, 2014

SICB Will Not Intervene

Despite all the complications besieging the industry at this point, all parties can agree on one thing – they need the crop to get started. But they disagree on how that should happen. The more militant faction of the B.S.C.F.A., supported by the N.T.U.C.B., says that the government, through the SICB, can declare a start day even if the parties don’t sign an agreement. The government has said that it doesn’t work that way, or more specifically, it’s not going to happen that way. According to Alpuche, the SICB can decide on a start date after consultation with factory and farmers, but it can’t do anything to actually force them to commence delivery and milling.

 

Jose Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture

“I would use the words of the ex-vice chairman of the B.S.C.F.A., Fred Ortega. Yesterday on one of the newscasts, I heard him say that what has traditionally happened is that the parties agree and then the SICB in effect announces the date. And that is the way indeed that it has always happened. The law says that the SICB in consultation with the millers and the producers will set a date for the start of crop. But let’s examine that a little closer. Let’s say we set a date for crop and B.S.I. refuses to operate the factory, what will be do? It is not an essential service. Government has no legal authority to go in there and force nor do we have the human resource to run something as complicated as the factory. Look at the other possible scenario…what if they do open the factory and they are saying that it can be done in absence of an agreement. Aren’t you really opening up the gate for B.S.I. to go and do a bilateral side agreements with others, if that is the approach you take? You may very well end up undermining the very association that you say you are helping to protect. It is not a very wise proposition that they are putting forward.”

 

Jose Alpuche

Mike Rudon

“So it is not going to happen? The SICB is not going to step in at this point?”

 

Jose Alpuche

“Well, they are talking step in as it relates to setting a date for the start of crop. We don’t see the utility in setting a date for the start of crop if the parties haven’t agreed to the commercial agreement to govern the start of the crop. It is a necessary step. How will you deliver cane if you don’t know what you’ll be paid and what the modes of reparation of the crop is? It makes no sense.”

 

Mike Rudon

“Do you believe that certain parties are in effect misleading the general assembly of the farmers when they are saying that you know what crop can start now; the SICB can step in and say you know what, B.S.I. open your doors, let’s deliver cane?”

 

Jose Alpuche

“I think it is a last minute ditch indeed to try to derail the process. But I have every faith in the wisdom of the eighteen directors of the cane farmers association and the wider cane farming community that they will see that the agreement that has been reached is good for them and good for the industry.”

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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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