Controversy / General / Weekend News

BSI, BSCFA reach common ground over sugar dispute

By Marion Ali, Staff Reporter

There is an agreement in principle between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) and American Sugar Refineries (ASR) following a meeting on Friday to iron put their differences, accompanied by their attorneys, Michael Young for BSI and Chris Coye for the BSCFA.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who led the talks, made the announcement afterwards.

“We have an agreement. Now, of course it is subject to ratification by the general membership of the BSCFA, but at this level, the level of the directors and the CEO and the BSCFA’s negotiating committee we have an agreement. A final agreement is to be signed, subject as I said to ratification of the acceptance, which we were able to procure this morning. Ratification of that acceptance by the general membership of the BSCFA.”

That general membership meeting will take place on Sunday, but according to
Ezequiel Cansino, chairman of the BSCFA’s board of management, There are concerns over some of the proposals – concerns that may or may not have a bearing at Sunday’s meeting.

“Until then optimism is at best, guarded and in advance of that, none of the parties wanted to say much about details of the compromise:

Without delving into the intricacies of the talks, Mac McLachlan, the International Relations Advisor for ASR thought the discussions were positive.

“I believe that we are on the right course to resolving a number of issues. There have been compromises on all sides and I am hoping that once BSCFA take that to their membership, the kinds of ideas that we’ve discuss today, we will be in a good place…as far as we are concern I think we have a very good basis on which to reach an agreement early next week.”

It is an agreement that PM Barrow hopes can be solidified for the benefit of the industry.

“The actual contractual document could be signed on Monday or Tuesday at the latest and the crop can start by Friday of next week.”

The general meeting on Sunday will take place at Escuela Secundaria Technica Mexico in San Roman Village, Corozal starting on Sunday.

Among the topics for consideration is a seven-year agreement by farmers will on a bagasse formula that BSI proposed.

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