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#412303 - 07/22/11 02:24 PM CANEFARMERS TO DISCUSS POSSIBLE SALE OF FACTORIES
Marty Offline
Manuela Ayuso reporting...
"The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Associations is preparing to propose the purchase of shares in BSI. On Friday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow and representatives of Honduran, Banco Atlantida will meet with the BSCFA to discuss Banco Atlantida’s interests in BSI. We spoke today with BSCFA’s Chairman of the Committee of Management, Alfredo Ortega who gives us his take.

Alfredo Ortega – Chairman, BSCFA Committee of Management
“A week and a half ago we had a meeting with the PM where he presented to us a paper that was sent by Banco Atlantida to him in regards to their proposals on becoming the majority shareholders of BSI in regards to the financial crisis that BSI is facing. We listened, he gave us a copy on what was presented to him but we asked the PM that we would like to see the people in charge of Basnco Atlantida so that we can listen to the details or have a close look at the details of what they are proposing. Their proposal is to pay $20 million to ING and to have $20 million invest in the factory and place $20 million for the farmers in the production sector and $25 million for them so they can enter into the production arena. Those are things that we need to know very clear the details of it, of their interest in the production sector. If we already have some problems with BSI producing a certain amount of sugar cane in production then with the amount they are planning to come in with what effect that would cause, what social effect that would cause with our farmers out here. And those are things that we are trying to understand clearly with the details where they want to go.” Ortega says the BSCFA , on the approval of its membership, is prepared to invest 5 million dollars in the purchase of BSI shares. Alfredo Ortega – Chairman, BSCFA Committee of Management “I think the time has come where we should not only be put to the production sector but I think it is time for us to jump into that arena where we should turn to be one day the owners of the industry, owners not only in the production sector but also at the manufacturing sector. I know it is not something easy but I think that the Association is growing and we are having technical people working with us and I know that we have to seek technical support outside. This is one of our goals to turn to be owners of shares in BSI and from there kick off to one day be the owners of the mill too."

Manuela Ayuso Cantun - Reporter
‘We know that the Belize Sugar Canefarmers Association for some time has been plagued with financial crisis, at one point running out of funds even for administrative purposes, accused of mismanagement over the course of its existence, how is it that the BSCFA finds itself in a position to even offer to purchase shares? What is the plan?

Alfredo Ortega – Chairman, BSCFA Committee of Management
“As you rightly said before, the BSCFA was really out of reach with a lot of mismanagement. With the entrance of Fair-trade that has pushed us to develop criteria, rules and regulations within the organization. Recently we approved a plan that was developed by Baker Tilly Hulse paid by the EU showing transparency and accountability on all the administrative projects that are ongoing with the organization. Now with the premium we are getting working under Fair-trade umbrella those are sectors that we are seeking but we need to go to the general assembly to have that approval so with that we can kick start in getting shares but we need to develop a five ten year plan because this is a long term project that we need to take into consideration and that is where this will give us the kick start of it and from there we will be seeking funds elsewhere so that we can turn to be the majority or the owners of the mill."

Manuela Ayuso Cantun - Reporter
What is it that BSCFA is prepared to offer now in terms of the finance necessary to purchase shares, what amount are you looking at.

Alfredo Ortega – Chairman, BSCFA Committee of Management
“Well we have thrown a worth, and I don’t want to be held to that because we have to go the general assembly for that but we are seeking at least a $5 million to give a kick start on it."

BSI’s Employee Trust currently owns 81% of BSI.

LOVEFM

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#412428 - 07/25/11 04:14 PM Re: CANEFARMERS TO DISCUSS POSSIBLE SALE OF FACTORIES [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
From a friend.....

Mostly passed on the House as had more interesting things to do.

Caught the mini debate on the motion to adjourn.

The Leader of The Opposition went into the proposed sell out of our sugar industry to Honduras and said the PUP will not allow this to happen. Was very emphatic.

The P.M. came back as very upset. Spend half his rebuttal on personal attacks on Hon. Briceno including boldly stating he is reading his (Briceno's) emails where Ortega and someone else (maybe Cervantes or Auxillou) are coaching and giving Briceno talking points.

If this is not so much political bickering, it is the second time, following Mr. Saldivar who laid first claim to having access to the Leader of the Opposition's emails and coms.

Apart from the ethics, if true, it is regrettable that the PUP are in so much disarray they cannot even protect themselves from the security services spying on their coms or keeping their radio station on the air.

The P.M. stated emphatically Banco Atlantida is the only game in town.

All is lost unless we seize this opportunity - the industry will collapse.

The "owners" of the factory will determine who they will sell out to.

The owners the of factory are the employees who own 81% I think.

Strangely, the PM is meeting at this hour with Banco Atlantida and ONE of the three cane farmers association.

The owners are not in the meeting and are agitated about this according to radio reports.

Mr. Briceno struck a sore spot when he asked how come GOB easily coughed up $70 million to buy shares in BTL but cannot find the equivalent to invest in sugar.

It appears to be a retirement package cooked up by the BSI management and GOB insiders.

I much fear for my people in the North. For sure they will send the cops to kill more farmers and protesters.

P.S. The Honduras deal includes giving the factory some cozy accommodations such as tax free EPZ status, exclusive banking franchise on EVERYTHING connected to sugar etc.

My question, why not give the factory EPZ status NOW and keep it Belizean?

Why not give the St. Francis Xavier Credit Union banking franchise on everything sugar?

Why not take the money from Social Security or the Russians and LEND it to the farmers to buy out the factory?

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#412429 - 07/25/11 04:14 PM Re: CANEFARMERS TO DISCUSS POSSIBLE SALE OF FACTORIES [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
response from another friend....

Heard the entire thing and agree it was Blah except for the usual comedy - government side attempts to muzzle Cardona and the Leader of the opposition. Cardona was barely able to get in a word edgewise "because" Mr. Speaker ruled that he was talking about the same thing Briceno talked about - Finnegan (and Boots in the background) tried to "educate" Cardona (a lawyer) on the rules of the house. In responding to Briceno's comments about the proposed sale of BSI the PM spent his first 5 minutes calling Briceno a nitwit, a fool, ineducable, ignorant etc. etc. and advised Briceno "not to smoke his own product" before addressing the issue and even when he was addressing the issue half his comments were personal insults to Briceno.

It was televised on PLUS TV but I was not aware of this and listened to the audio transmission until almost the end. Apparently Cardona took his seat wearing a cap ( apparently to object to the inaction of the speaker when he Cardona was stoned by a UDP supporter at the last house sitting) and Finnegan objected then the speaker instructed Cardona to take off the cap. Methinks the opposition missed a golden opportunity to expose and emphasize the UDP's support of violence against the opposition representatives. Every one of them should have attended the house meeting wearing hardhats or crash helmets.

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#412504 - 07/26/11 03:47 PM Re: CANEFARMERS TO DISCUSS POSSIBLE SALE OF FACTORIES [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
BSI EMPLOYEES DISCUSS PROPOSED SALE OF SUGAR FACTORY

BSI employees met on Friday to discuss the proposed purchase of the Tower Hill factory.

Manuela Ayuso Cantun reporting…
“Representatives of the Belize Workers Union hope to meet with Prime Minister Dean Barrow to raise their concerns over Banco Atlantida’s interest in BSI. On Friday BWU held an emergency meeting with its members to get their perspective on the situation that now faces the company they work for. We spoke with one employee who has been with the company for more than 30 years.

BSI employee
"As far as I am concerned I think we are being taken for a ride. The management of BSI has always promised and promised and can’t fulfill. We reach this situation with Banco Atlantida where we don’t have the direct information which we will get in the future. With this Banco Atlantida we are hearing it is a buy over and we are concerned because we as the workers are the majority shareholders although we don’t have a representative on the board. We are finding out these guys are doing things and we don’t have an input. We heard the Prime Minister mentioned that the Managing Director of BSI mentioned that the workers have agreed with what he is saying and that is false because he has never approached us to mention what is the situation. It is true he has called meetings but we have not been given the opportunity to ask questions so we can really know what is transpiring.”

President of the BWU Harris Patten says they have met with BSI’s management and are made to understand that Banco Atlantida is the only financier that has expressed any kind of interest in the company to date. Patten says while they understand that Banco Atlantida may be the only option available at this point, his members are concerned with receiving the dividends owed to them as the beneficiaries of the employees’ trust which owns 81.29% of BSI. According to Patten BSI employees have not received dividends since the late 1990s.

Harris Patten – President, BWU
“This thing goes back to 1985. In 1985 what transpired there was an agreement made with Tate & Lyle, the government of Belize and everything where 81.29% would be given to the employees through a trust but for 10 years all profits that were made would go to Tate & Lyle. At the end of the 10 year period if we had not paid back the cost we would then have to pay $1.00 and the industry is given to us. In 1994- 95 when the 10 year period ended, we were not able to complete the full payment of the arrangement so that symbolic dollar was made and the dividend began. Dividend was paid since then in 1997 somewhere around that period and then after BSI made some losses and the after that the investment in co-generation and different things happened.”

The BWU represents 153 of the almost 400 BSI employees.

LOVEFM

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