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Dec 11, 2013

A.S.R. agrees to come to the table to negotiate bagasse

The big news today is that the impasse between sugar-cane farmers and BSI/ASR has been breached, at least in principle and there is a deal in the making. Prime Minister Dean Barrow met with company representatives on Monday, and this morning ASR officially capitulated, meaning that there is an acceptance that farmers will have to be paid for the use of bagasse. There’s no agreement in writing just yet, but the standoff is, for all intents and purposes, at an end. PM Barrow met with representatives of the BSCFA this afternoon to impart the good news. Mike Rudon was there and has the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

This afternoon’s meeting between representatives of the BSCFA and Prime Minister Dean Barrow at the Belize Biltmore Plaza lasted only an hour and a half. That was long enough for the glad tidings to be discharged, and all parties emerged smiling at three-thirty.


Dean Barrow, Prime Minister

Dean Barrow

“There’s been agreement in principle with a position that I brought back from the ASR meeting. Naturally, the directors will now convene an emergency general meeting on Sunday and their acceptance will need to be ratified by the general meeting. But at this level there is an acceptance of opposition we are therefore preparing to start the crop as soon as may be possible and we are preparing to start the negotiations between the BSCFA and B.S.I., which negotiations will begin on the payment of which bagasse is due but of course quantum must be agreed.”


Alfredo Ortega, Chairman, Committee of Management, BSCFA

“In principle it looks very good what he has reported to us what ASR sent to him in their letter. That they compromise themselves for a payment of bagasse to the farmers; based in what he mentioned to us we are calling meeting with our farmers on Sunday to report to them what we have garnered from the Prime Minister on this meeting.”


According to Prime Minister Barrow, up to this morning ASR had serious concerns about the repercussions of giving into the demands of cane-farmers, but came around in the end. Where the breach of the impasse is concerned the PM, gave credit where he feels it was due.


Dean Barrow

“I will tell you the only reason they agreed was because of my intervention and that of the government of Belize and I will leave it at that. No, on a serious note up to this morning they were insistent on their position and expressed all sorts of fears as to the future if they agree to what government was requiring they thought that it will set a bad precident, but we were able to talk the whole thing through and in the end obviously they were convinced that this is the only way  to go and that it is the right thing for the industry, for Belize and ultimately for ASR.”


There has thus far been no talk of quantum. This Sunday the BSCFA will meet with cane-farmers to update them and receive a new mandate. If that goes as expected, the first discussion to discuss figures will be held with BSI as early as next week Thursday.


Alfredo Ortega

Alfredo Ortega

“We have placed a date when we had the first meeting with the Prime Minister, at least no more than four months for us to finalize the negotiations. So, this remain in focus on our side that we place a time frame on them that we cannot go more and up to a certain point and I believe that it should be no more than four month for us to finalize that negotiation in the regards of the quantum of the payment bagasse. We have certain things for the agreement; we have a certain percentage that we have reached upon in an agreement. What we will do and that is what we will meet about in our meeting on Thursday to continue with the agreement and the bagasse will be included in that now. What we are looking forward is to sign that there will be payment for bagasse now. Now what will take long is if there is any it will be for the quantum on the payment for bagasse, so we should see a signing of the agreement or if there is a actual payment for the bagasse.”


It is hopeful that if the dispute is resolved, and everything else falls into place, the crop could start in early January.  Mike Rudon reporting for News Five.


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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5 Responses for “A.S.R. agrees to come to the table to negotiate bagasse”

  1. David says:

    ASR should be allowed to recover their investment before they start any profit sharing with the cane farmers.

  2. Hatari says:

    This is so typical of Belize. Sell the business or land then backtrack on the agreement or outright scam so that you can take it back and sell it again. Great for encouraging foreign investment! Every year we have to deal with the cane farmers. They need to stop drinking so much of their crop’s byproduct and pay attention to their farms.

  3. rafael says:

    I wonder what tax breaks they have given ASR. What is the secret deal to make them change their minds

  4. ceo says:

    ASR should be allowed to recover ther cost amortized over an acceptable period and then the profits shared with the farmers. Then after they recover their cost they and the farmers would get larger dividends from the bagasse. This is the way businesses usually function. Not all for the big guys and screw the little guy. They want the farmers to share in their loss but not in their gains. When the price of sugar is low they are quick to pass on some of that lost to the farmers so why when there is more to be made they do not want to share that too?

  5. ceo says:

    By the way I think the PM made a good choice this time to support the farmers.

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