The Sugar Cane Industry is at a virtual standstill tonight because the Belize Sugar Industry Factory is inoperable due to failed machinery at the BELCOGEN Plant. The international lending organizations were ready to pull the plug at B.S.I., but government granted a ten million dollar bailout loan to keep the factory open. Well now, the factory will be shut down for the next few weeks. News Five asked the P.M. for an update on Banco Atlantida which was expected to take over B.S.I.’s First Caribbean and IMG debts. Well according to the P.M., after visiting the factory, the bank wants to do more than simply finance, they want to buy B.S.I. from the six thousand plus farmers.

Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“Banco Atlantida, the last meeting I had with them when we discussed as well the palm oil project, was maybe two three weeks ago, they want to do more than finance. They want to buy the sugar factory. Now that’s a whole ‘nother story. The majority of shares in that factory are owned by an employee’s trust. I don’t know what will happen if Banco Atlantida pursues its interests in purchasing the factory. They had done a detailed tour of B.S.I.—they had done a detail examination of the industry. They made a couple of trips and they brought people from Central American Sugar Manufacturers Association and they felt, at least in terms of what they expressed to me, that the factory was worth purchasing. This setback, I believe, is genuinely an act of God. I don’t think, I’m no expert, but I am hazarding a guess, I don’t see there is any negligence on the part of B.S.I. And so anybody who is investing in commodities knows the volatility of that sort of an investment and anybody who is investing in a factory knows that breakdowns are liable to happen. We can’t wish away the fact of this breakdown and the effect it has on the crop. We can’t wish away the effect it potentially has on financiers. The fact that they might want to look a little bit more closely at the prospect, but in my view it’s not going to turn any potential financier away.”

Channel 5