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Will Florencio Marin Sr. be able to assist in brokering a deal between the BCFA and ASR/BSI?

Since March of this year, Florencio Marin Sr. was hired by the government as a special consultant to the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) to act as an intermediary between the BSCFA and BSI/ASR.  But will the retired statesman be able to successfully bring both parties to an amicable solution? That’s what we asked the former Corozal Southeast area representative today when we caught up with him at Tower Hill. Here is how he says he is trying tostrike a balance in the negotiations.

Florencio Marin Sr, Advisor, Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB): “I am hopeful that common sense will prevail. They know. The manufacturers know that a dissatisfied major group of cane farmers, if they are not happy, you cannot expect that they will do everything to bring up their cane fields in production and bring good cane to the factory next year. In my opinion, everybody loses if we do not have cane farmers happy with an agreement that they think is fair on both sides. It has to be fair on both sides because manufacturing, we’re talking about overhauling the factory. It has costs and naturally the industry has to find a way to assist in this but that is their everyday work and they know how to do it. But I agree with the policy. I support it. It’s not a take it or leave it situation. In any negotiations, you sit down, you discuss, you rationalise the issues on the table. As far as I am concerned, neither BSI/ASR nor BSCFA have exhausted the negotiating process. There is room for both of them to sit down and continue the negotiating process until they come to an agreement. That BSI reacts to say no they can’t afford to pay. I expect that reaction. But I also expect the cane farmers to do their homework and come up with arguments and figures and tell them we go through this expense and we need to recover costs. I think in a rational common sense approach, common sense will prevail.” 

BSI/ASR’s Director of Finance Shawn Chavarria also weighed in on Marin’s role in the ongoing negotiations and stated that Marin has had a positive impact.  

Shawn Chavarria, Director of Finance, BSI/ASR: “I think what he has done is to come across as an honest broker. He has come here to say look, I am not here to take sides. I am here to listen to all the stakeholders because not only with us he meets with. He meets with the BSCFA. There are three other associations that he has discussions with. So I think his influence has been positive because he is respected in the industry. He is really a statesman. For us, we hold a lot of respect for him and so do the farmers. So, I think, when he is in a room and he is trying to get the parties together to at least have an honest conversation, that is really the biggest benefit you can have.”

Reporter: So you think he has helped?

Shawn Chavarria, Director of Finance, BSI/ASR: “Yes. I would say so. He has been a positive influence.” 

While ASR/BSI has praises for Marin, the BSCFA says they are yet to officially receive communication to state that Marin is acting as a mediator between both parties. Executive Director of the BSCFA, Oscar Alonzo, says that given that fact he cannot comment on whether Marin has assisted the association.

Oscar Alonzo, Executive Director of the BSCFA: “Our understanding of Mr. Marin’s presence here is as an advisor to SICB. Okay? He does something in regards to, we don’t know exactly his aversion* in regards to this negotiation. So I can’t really answer you your question. He does show some interest in what we’re doing but we know that he was sent to be an advisor to the Chairman of SICB.”