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Jul 25, 2011

Cane Farmers Association wants in on B.S.I. buyout

On Friday afternoon, Prime Minister Dean Barrow along with officials from the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association met with a delegation from Banco Atlantida to discuss the purchase of the financially embattled B.S.I.  The Honduras based bank has an interest in acquiring majority shares in the company which is owned by the employees’ trust that controls eighty-one percent shares. But B.S.I. currently owes as much as seventy-million U.S. dollars to its creditors. In light of government’s recent acquisition of Telemedia and B.E.L., the prospect of giving control of B.S.I. to foreign investors is being opposed by cane farmers in the north.  Caneros insist that they should be given the opportunity to own controlling shares; but the hitch is that they don’t readily have capital to invest in the company.  Present at the meeting on Friday was Alfredo Ortega, Chairman of the Committee of Management of the BSCFA, who told News Five today that while an agreement has not been reached, the proposal to have B.S.I. remain in the hands of sugarcane farmers did not go over too well with P.M. Barrow.

Via Phone: Alfredo Ortega, Chairman, BSCFA

“We listened to them—nothing written only verbal. We didn’t agree to anything at that point, but we laid out to the Prime Minister that we the cane farmers are interested in becoming the major shareholders in regards to the mill.”

Isani Cayetano

“What was the reception of that proposal? In terms of the Prime Minister being able to listen to what you guys brought to the table, what was his immediate reaction or his response to what you had?”

Via Phone: Alfredo Ortega

“Well really it was very poor, but he said he had to analyze the issue to see where it goes because according to him, you yourself asked him and he mentioned that he cannot find that amount of money that is needed, but I think we need to do our due diligence and to see how we can work towards that goal.”

Isani Cayetano

“Is Banco Atlantida, by way of this meeting that was held on Friday, prepared to work with the sugar cane farmers association in either splitting owners of B.S.I.?”

Via Phone: Alfredo Ortega

“Well, they said that they are prepared, but what they want it to be is that they control the majority shares of B.S.I.”

Isani Cayetano

“In terms of the assets that the sugar cane farmers association would be bringing to the table in expressing this interest in wanting to own the operations and the factory of B.S.I., what do you guys bring to the table?”

Via Phone: Alfredo Ortega

“Well presently we have five million that of course we have to do a general assembly to ask the farmers permission for that. But I do believe we can bring that forward and from there after seek funding with other sources because this need to be a long term issue for us.”

Isani Cayetano

“Finally; if indeed the Prime Minister goes ahead to work out a situation with Banco Atlantida where it would assume control over majority shares in B.S.I., what could the cane farmers then be prepared to do?”

Via Phone: Alfredo Ortega

“Well really it’s something very difficult to answer at this point in time. We will have to go and see what our farmers will be accepting with and with what we can work and from thereafter then we can make a decision based on what the response of the farmers will be to us.”

Isani Cayetano

“In terms of a deadline to reach an agreement, I know the fate of B.S.I. hangs in the balance, did you guys come to that agreement?”

Via Phone: Alfredo Ortega

“No, not as yet.”

As Ortega said, the Prime Minister was not in the mood to entertain the proposal by the farmers. Word to News Five is that the employees trust is also objecting to the sale of the factory to the Honduran bank.  The issue was also discussed at a special meeting of the P.U.P. Northern Caucus on Saturday. Today, the party issued a release calling on Prime Minister Dean Barrow to keep majority control of the factory and the industry in the hands of the Belizeans. The P.U.P. northern caucus proclaims its solidarity with the B.S.I. employees, in their attempt to collect the five million dollars owed to them in unpaid dividends. It also raises concern about the possible legislative changes to the Sugar Cane Industry Act, which is said to be a precondition to the Banco Atlantida buyout. The release ends by saying that the government needs to find a Belizean solution to the crisis since it affects the livelihood hood of over forty-eight thousand residents.

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6 Responses for “Cane Farmers Association wants in on B.S.I. buyout”

  1. Ricky Malthus says:

    Like I keep saying Barrow won’t want the Latinos of the north to own BSI or anything because he is a black racist and he wants Latinos on their knees. But have faith Latinos. You are capable of buying the sugar factory and have avertical and horizontal efficient , profitable company. Like i mentioned, there are several investors who are looking for emerging market investments with favorable interest rates over reasonable time and with roll-overs and restructuring and funded debt paramaters available . Don’t pay attention to Barrow, he doesn’t know anything about finance. The Canadians and Americans despise him but protocol obligates them to do business with him.

  2. Rod says:

    Unu dumb caneros no hear the pm say unu stupid and he doesn’t care what happens to you Spanish people el dice que son estupidos y que no le importa nada de Latinos que viva la revolucion.

  3. rasman says:

    Cane farmers should own factory; Let government get the money to keep the industry Belizean. What is this nationalisation habalo all about. We should not be selected in what should be in the hands of Belizeans.

  4. respectBelize says:

    Why should tax payers be footing bail-outs, guarantees and bankrolling private investments. If they really want ownership they should go to the banks like true investors.

  5. Vuk says:

    “Rod” and “Ricky”:

    You guys are complete imbeciles. First of all, the bank that wants to take over B.S.I. is a bank that is based in a “Hispanic” country. Thus, what sense does it make to propagate the idea that PM Barrow is being “racist” toward “Hispanics” when the bank he’s enabling to take it over is a bank that’s based in a “Hispanic” country? And second of all, even if this wasn’t the case, that still wouldn’t have made what’s going on here an act of “racism” by PM Barrow because this is something that normally occurs in this unfortunate world process called “globalisation”. I call it unfortunate because, in the end, it doesn’t help anybody.

    ………..

  6. Roy Yates says:

    Message to the cane farmers: There are competent Asset Managers that can assist you all to raise all the funds you need by as Selfliquidating loan to buy out your creditors and be free of debt obligation.If you all wish to contact me I will be more than happy to help free of cost. Get rid of the bandits at your door that are taking advantage because you do not understand the business of high finance. The politicians are no better, this is why the country is paying through its noses for a SUPER BOND that never should have happen. If they want to swallow their pride and contact me I can show them how get rid of that debt obligation in no time.

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