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Dec 23, 2013

ASR/B.S.I. representatives meet with BSCFA; bagasse on the discussion table

Our news team is just back from Orange Walk, where they were awaiting the decision out of a meeting between B.S.I. and the BSCFA. The session started at two and ended after five this evening. While there’s a lot to say for the fact that the parties are back at the discussion table for the first time since September, we found out that there is not more than that to say tonight. There is still no agreement on the start of crop and no agreement on payment of bagasse. In a nutshell, this is what it is. B.S.I. has indicated that it is agreeing to negotiate a payment for bagasse. BSCFA wants an agreement on a payment for bagasse up front, then a negotiation on quantum. B.S.I. has given its word to negotiate payment, and BSCFA wants that word in black and white. This evening News Five found out that little progress was made, which is bad news for the industry.

 

Belizario Carballo, Financial Controller, B.S.I.

Belizario Carballo

“Today, we had reached out to the BSCFA on the basis of requests made by the Deputy Prime Minister to bring us back to the negotiating table. And we had agreed to come to the negotiating table. The simple objective of today was essentially to agree that we can start negotiations; that we can proceed with those negotiations concurrent with the start of the crop. We saw no need for the crop to be delayed beyond the havoc that has already been wreaked by the bad weather conditions. We were hoping that the other point that we could agree with is the date for the start of the crop. Disappointingly that did not occur. We did have the start of negotiation; we discussed the basis for the reengaging in negotiation, but it seems that the association is intent on wanting to see things a bit more formal and we have done so. We have, as far as we know, we have formalized our proposal. What have conceded to and what we have agreed is in writing and we have presented that to them—and that is all in writing—but they want to see something more. So what we have essentially agreed is that they will now communicate to us what effectively they want to see; what is it that they want to see more from us on the basis that which they can then come back to the negotiating table and then proceed with agreeing a date for the start of crop. So for now, we haven’t agreed a date for the start of crop.”

 

Alfredo Ortega, Vice-Chairman, Committee of Management, BSCFA

“We asked them that we need a letter of clarification directed to the Association whereby it can clearly state that yes in words that they will commit in negotiating a payment for bagasse. So that is what we want clearly stated in a letter that we will present to the farmers. And from thereafter then we can say that we have something that is clear and that negotiation for payment will be done.”

 

Reporter

“So what you want basically is an agreement to pay for bagasse and the only thing under negotiation should be the quantum?”

 

Alfredo Ortega

Alfredo Ortega

“Exactly. That is what we are looking for.”

 

Reporter

“And is it the feeling that that is what B.S.I. will put or there is still a possibility it may be something else and not exactly that?”

 

Alfredo Ortega

“Well I cannot say at this point in time. It depends on the letter that they will be sending to us. And based on what they write on the letter, we will see what they are heading for.”

 

Reporter

“So how then would you rate today’s meeting in terms of success? Anything accomplished really?”

 

Alfredo Ortega

“Today, I cannot say that it was a successful meeting. What I can say is that since we came to a stop on the twenty-sixth of September, until then we are meeting today again to restart the negotiation. I won’t say that it was a success today, but at least I think we were able to engage in a different road versus when we stopped on the twenty-sixth of September when they came to a complete ‘no’ that they will not negotiate bagasse none at all.  And today they came with a different approach that yes they will be a negotiation for payment on bagasse.”

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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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