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Aug 16, 2011

Cane Farmers Association sets leaders to seek B.S.I. shares

The deadline for the financially embattled Belize Sugar Industries Ltd. to meet its debt obligations to ING and First Caribbean International Bank is inching closer.  The cash-strapped company is in the red to the tune of approximately twenty-nine million U.S. dollars to ING alone and there is a degree of uncertainty whether it will be able to meet its next payment on September thirtieth.  Nonetheless, discussions remain ongoing between Banco Atlantida which has expressed interest investing ninety million U.S. dollars in return for majority shareholdings in BSI.  As it stands, eighty one percent of the company is owned by members of the Belize Workers Union who have not received dividends in over a decade.  A tripartite agreement between the BWU, the Government of Belize and Banco Atlantida in the event of a buyout would mean that shareholders would receive their long-awaited returns.  However, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association which met in a general assembly on Sunday has also reaffirmed its interest in having the company owned and managed by cane farmers despite not having the requisite funds to make a purchase.  This morning News Five spoke with the Chairman of BSCFA’s Committee of Management, Alfredo Ortega, who gave an appraisal of the meeting.

Alfredo Ortega

Alfredo Ortega, Chairman, Committee of Management, BSCFA

“At that meeting it was presented to the farmers the result of the sensitization meeting that we took in all eighteen branches where what were the motions that were brought out by the farmers in regards to this Banco Atlantida proposal.  And also it was reiterated on Sunday another resolution that was presented by Mr. Cervantes whereby the farmers also reiterated one more time, once more the intention of farmers of becoming majority shareholders of the mill.”

Delahnie Bain

“Okay.  One of the obstacles with that is the financing.  Do you have any idea as yet how you’re going to raise those funds?”

Alfredo Ortega

“Well not as yet.  I think we didn’t reach to that point at Sunday’s meeting where compromise could have been done by farmers on what would be the way forward of compromising in getting those, the repayment of those finances because of course we don’t have that finance in hand so it would need to be sought elsewhere.  But we would need that compromise of farmers how that finance will be repaid and that’s an area that I think that we needed to have brought forward on what would be our compromise as farmers to repay back those loans.”

Delahnie Bain

“Okay.  This Banco Atlantida deal now has a deadline, I believe, of the end of September and the government is leaning towards that.  Is there anything that you all can do in the mean time to, I guess, stall that [deadline]?”

Alfredo Ortega

“Well what we have done and what was approved in Sunday’s meeting is a budget for us to develop a technical team headed by Mr. Gibson and also an expert in mills.  We need to bring along also a financial expert and a corporate lawyer so that these people can develop a position paper or a plan for the organization and to seek loans from other financial institutions elsewhere in Belize or abroad.”

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4 Responses for “Cane Farmers Association sets leaders to seek B.S.I. shares”

  1. Sugar says:

    If I want to own Channel 5 and tell GOB to get it for me, can I then get mad if GOB fails to acquire it for me?? how stupid can they get?? they have NO cash, NO plan, NO leadership and yet GOB is to blame because the farmer have “resolved” that they want to own the Company.
    On another note, the media is confusing the fact that Horris Patten is the representative of the employees that own 81% 0f the company. This 81% is in a trust for ALL employees. Mr Patten is the Union Leader of the hourly paid employees and does NOt represent the body ogf employees that belong to the trust. He is not even a member of the Employees Holding Company.

  2. Dirty sugar!!!! says:

    The cane farmers messed up — BSI management messed up! The Belizean people cannot afford to give that industry no bail out… You guys were warned before that the core sampler was necessary- no you guys did not listen…. Why are you guys pretending like you did not know from a few years ago that the company had serious money problem?

    My problem is with the dirty sugar that you keep selling the Belizean people. So da what now? — Is there no quality control at BSI? Oh i get it — seems like it was decided that the nicely refined sugar will be exported and the dirty sugar will be sold in Belize!

    Mek di new owners take over because BSI is selling the Belizean people dirty sugar for the past over 10years or from longer– and they dont even care — Its like BSI is saying, “These are the dirty bags of sugar send them to Belize City so that Belize Marketing Board sell them over that side.”

  3. mad max!!!!!! says:

    The cane farmers messed up — BSI management messed up! The Belizean people cannot afford to give that industry no bail out… You guys were warned before that the core sampler was necessary- no you guys did not listen…. Why are you guys pretending like you did not know from a few years ago that the company had serious money problem?

    My problem is with the dirty sugar that you keep selling the Belizean people. So da what now? — Is there no quality control at BSI? Oh i get it — seems like it was decided that the nicely refined sugar will be exported and the dirty sugar will be sold in Belize!

    Mek di new owners take over because BSI is selling the Belizean people dirty sugar for the past over 10years or from longer– and they dont even care — Its like BSI is saying, “These are the dirty bags of sugar send them to Belize City so that Belize Marketing Board sell them over that side.”

  4. mad max!!!!!! says:

    My problem is with the dirty sugar that you keep selling the Belizean people. So da what now? — Is there no quality control at BSI? Oh i get it — seems like it was decided that the nicely refined sugar will be exported and the dirty sugar will be sold in Belize!

    Mek di new owners take over because BSI is selling the Belizean people dirty sugar for the past over 10years or from longer– and they dont even care — Its like BSI is saying, “These are the dirty bags of sugar send them to Belize City so that Belize Marketing Board sell them over that side.”

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