The BSCFA has stated that if it wasn’t for the government’s intervention at the start of this crop season its current agreement with ASR/BSI may not have been signed. With atleast five government ministers being cane farmers, BSCFA is hoping that the government will intervene once more.
However, ASR/BSI’s Director of Finance, Shawn Chavarria says the company does not believe there is a need for the government to act as a referee.
Shawn Chavarria, Director of Finance, BSI/ASR: “We don’t think that this requires government intervention. The mill is private. The BSCFA is a private entity. I think both organisations are more than capable of managing these negotiations. If you look at it, we’ve signed long term agreements with three of four associations without government intervention. So it shows that we can get it done. They have 50% of the cane we have contracted with long term agreement. The other 50% of the cane and so I think, if you approach it in good faith we can come to an agreement.”
Reporter: Well the BSCFA is an independent organisation, like you said, ministers of Government belong to that organisation, does ASR/BSI feel more pressure as it relates to that?
Shawn Chavarria, Director of Finance, BSI/ASR: “No I think that if the facts are objectively assessed right, and the benefits that we have demonstrated are coming to farmers from these investments, I think everyone will see that we have, you know what, there’s a good existing agreement. You have three of four associations that are willing to work with it and it’s really now a matter of trying to convince BSCFA, their directors and leadership, that really working together and moving forward is the way to go so I don’t think so.”
While ASR/BSI is hoping the government will keep out of the ongoing negotiations, Andy Westby, Chairman of the BSCFA, says that he believes GOB stepping in will speed up the process.
Andy Westby, Chairman of BSCFA “At the beginning of the crop, like I said, we respected the view and the lobby of the PM to have our agreement to the ending of July. But I think it’s unfortunate that the good faith was not there. So that is why we need for the government to intervene seriously so that when the next crop comes, we have an agreement in place. You know? And we are very happy because five of them are farmers in our association and I know they will do their best but not to take advantage, one over the other, but to have an agreement in place that will benefit both sides justifiably. You know?”