BSI/ASR’s Finance Director says a Commission of Inquiry won’t solve the dispute with the BSCFA
The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association has called on the Prime Minister to empanel a commission of inquiry to determine the fair price of sugar cane to be paid to farmers. The association is calling for the commission because the negotiations have not worked because of what they see as the quote “intransigence of BSI/ASR to fully disclose all information to validate their calculation of the sugar cane price.” Unquote. We asked BSI/ASR’s Director of Finance, Shawn Chavarria for his thoughts on whether a commission even makes sense.
Shawn Chavarria, Director of Finance, BSI/ASR: “We don’t believe so. You know we know that commissions of inquiry have typically been reserved for looking into public bodies and institutions in this case BSI is a private company, the BSCFA is a private organization made up of private individuals and cane farmers who are businessmen and women and so it would seem that a commission of inquiry is not an appropriate mechanism to introduce to try to settle this dispute. We’re certainly looking forward to our opportunity which should be coming up soon go present to Cabinet the information that we would like to share to better provide information because we believe that there is a lot of false information that is put out there by the BSCFA including in that recent letter that you just quoted. BSCFA has all the information that they need to validate the cane price that they receive. They have the sales contracts of what we sell customers, sugar 4 and molasses, they have production records, they get an audit of the net stripped value statement and so from our perspective they have all the pertinent information to validate that. In terms of fairness we have demonstrated to them and through our presentation to Cabinet we hope to demonstrate that as well that BSI has one of the most favorable cane payment formulas in the world and that’s been done based on independent research so it’s not just us saying it we’ve hired a company to do that analysis and so that is some of the information that we would like to present to Cabinet as well to demonstrate that from our standpoint we have a very fair and favorable cane payment formula and from our perspective we are very happy to continue with that formula. We were also willing to consider a gross value formula approach and we had presented our proposals which were not accepted and so that’s where we are today but we are certainly welcoming the opportunity to clarify a lot of these misinformation to Cabinet.”
So if the negotiations aren’t working and a Commission of Inquiry is pointless, then how does this issue get settled? That’s what Chavarria was asked today.
The association announced today that on Tuesday, BSCFA cane farmers will hold a peaceful procession in Belmopan regarding the issues that are affecting the Sugar Industry