After many back and forths and some apparent hostilities between ASR/BSI and the BSCFA, on Wednesday both parties went back to the negotiating table, where they met for a much anticipated meeting at the BSI staff club in Orange Walk Town.
Present at the meeting were ASR/BSI, BSCFA and their attorneys and representatives of the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB). The meeting was rather cordial as both parties attempted to mend fences in order to begin the crop season as soon as possible. However, up until Thursday, there is not much that can be said as both parties are not revealing much about the discussions at this time. Both do concede, however that the discussions were good.
BSI’s Belizario Carballo spoke the media on Wednesday.
“As you are aware there was involvement on the part of the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister in sort of crystallizing those points of disagreement, and today we try to focus on those points and to see if we could actually come to an agreement on those points.
That is what we did. We explored each other’s positions. Clearly we are still at the stage where clearly there is more discussion on it, there’s clarity. Both sides will have to consider certain things that were discussed, and we have agreed that we will have to get back to each other on those three points. There isn’t, at this stage, agreement on those three polints. There remain points that need to be agreed.
There was a lot of good discussion today, that allowed us to undrerstand each other’s position.””
BSCFA’s Chairman, Ezekiel Cansino, also spoke to the media on Wednesday and said he is hopeful that the discussions will lead to a positive resolution.
“We did present proposals, refering to the point of the time of the agreement that they were proposing. That is seven years.
We did discuss also on the ownership of the cane on the bagasse issue. I think that we spent more time on that issue specifically.
I think that they expected, maybe, to finish today,but since our proposals that we presented to them, they said they can’t decide today, but even though if that was to be the position of BSI to decide today, we also have to inform our cane farmers. But we believe that BSI will give us positive answers on Friday. I think that they will be flexible enough to reach an agreement soon.”
It would appear that both parties are positive about the negotiations and feel that much has been accomplished. After an agreement is signed it would take three days to get the mill started, in the meantime both parties continue negotiations.