BSCFA Highlights Concerns Over Throughput Charges in Sugar Agreement
One of the points of contention that the BSCFA has brought to the forefront is the throughput charges that was recently placed within the open agreement. It is a concern for the farmers which is why they are asking for an interim agreement for one year. While Shaun Chavarria of the BSI/ASR, admitted that there may have been some degree of misunderstanding, William Neal has noted that the throughput charges and terminal handling are not new to the farmers.
Shawn Chavarria, Director of Finance, BSI/ASR: “Perhaps indeed that that might be the point of contention, that it wasn’t very clear in the commercial agreement although we had done all the presentations nad shared all the information and certainly in the cane price estimates that we were providing the associations that it was stipulated there. That explicitness was something that perhaps in the rush to sign an agreement was not made absolutely clear but certainly going forward that’s what we’d want to seek to ensure that’s it’s clear to all the parties what now constitutes the shipping cost which throughput fees is one of them.”
In the end, it is still unclear why the BSI/ASR and the BSCFA cannot come to a compromise.
William Neal, Communications Director, Sugar Industries Limited: “At this juncture for BSCFA to say that they don’t understand or never understood that those costs would be a part of the new shipping and logistics cost in the move to Big Creek could be seen as disingenuous because they were educated in terms of what would be the transition to Big Creek and what would be the cost that would perhaps be reflected in a different way because now you’re going through a port and the throughput means that you’re using the facility and that’s one of the costs that comes with the use of Big Creek. I don’t know if that answers your question a little bit more but I think that’s the – so the fact that they’re saying that they did not understand it we were very clear in the proposal to move down to Big Creek with all stakeholders and those costs were detailed.”
Reporter: We get that William but what the BSCFA is saying that they don’t get in fact they have indicated that they are willing or looking at taking this matter to court because it was not included directly or clearly in the previous commercial agreement and as I mentioned I think that’s the sticking point there. Maybe the clarification listen outrightly this is what is being charged, for them it was something not in writing in the commercial agreement.
Shawn Chavarria, Director of Finance, BSI/ASR: “I think if the BSCFA feels strongly that way then our commercial agreement is governed under the laws of Belize and that’s clear so if they feel they have a grievance or a case to make they are able to take this matter to court but that should not stop them from signing a long term agreement with us because we have one with the other associations and it’s the same agreement. So we’re not trying to treat BSCFA farmers any differently from the farmers of the other three associations. Everyone would have the same agreement, everyone would get the same payment but if they feel that there is some issue here then they are fully at liberty to go to court on this matter.”