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Jul 25, 2017

P.M. asks B.S.I., Cane Farmers’ Association to mend fences

The Prime Minister also weighed in, reiterating the importance of ASR’s investment in the industry and particularly in the Tower Hill sugar mill to introduce production of direct consumption sugar for the European and Caribbean markets. He said that he would prefer not to have to intervene directly as he did three years ago to save the tottering industry and that the two major partners need to settle their differences as quickly as possible.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Clearly, it is important that this matter be sorted out as quickly as possible, because the A.S.R. people want to make this twenty-million dollar investment in factory improvement, in enhancing the efficiency of the factory; but they won’t do that unless they can be certain that they have the throughput to justify in fact making the investment. So if the matter isn’t sorted out, I fear we will be back to another stalemate and that isn’t in anyone’s interest.”

 

Reporter

“But you would be willing in a sense to mediate, as you did the last time if it comes to a head, because it appears B.S.C.F.A. won’t pull back.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“There are now three associations and two out of the three have signed; while B.S.C.F.A. remains the largest, I really hope that they might be persuaded to in fact go the route of the other two associations, so that the industry can move forward. Everybody knows we are facing a crisis next year in terms of what’s happening in Europe with the advent of the beet sugar as straight-out competition to our sugar. In those circumstances, in that context, we can’t afford to be prejudicing the industry even further. I am not going to in fact dump on the B.S.C.F.A., I won’t go any further than saying that I really hope that they would rethink their position so that we can get this thing sorted out before the next crop starts.”

 

On Wednesday, we will be hearing from A.S.R.’s country manager for Belize, Celestino Ruiz, who is participating in B.S.I.’s annual end-of-crop internal meeting in Orange Walk Town. 

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