Finally, tonight, there is the promise of peace in the sugar industry: the cane farmers and BSI have come to an agreement. But it is a fragile truce at this time - because the agreement must still be approved by the larger body of cane farmers.

But, that will or won't come on Sunday - today the story was about how both sides came to the table in a spirit of compromise. Jules Vasquez was at the Radisson:..

Jules Vasquez reporting
This morning the leaders of the cane farmers association and the Sugar Industry Control Board arrived at the Radisson. The 18 directors crowded to elevator to capacity as they headed up to the fifth floor for a meeting.

At 10:20 the BSI/ASr representatives came across from the Raidsosn Hotel. And had cordial greetings with the BSCFA leaders in the lobby. Mac Maclachlan and Celestino Ruiz seem businesslike but not stern. As did the lawyers from both sides, Michael Young for BSI and Chris Coye for the cane farmers as they contently hopped into the elevator together.

Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega was next - he's the one who hammered out the compromise with the cane farmers two weeks ago - and today would be the test if he could sell it to ASR.

At 10:30 the Prime Minister was last sauntering in confidently - clearly expediting the best.

He emerged one hour 45 minutes later with an announcement.

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Ladies and gentlemen I am pleased to be able to say that we have an agreement. Now, of course it is subject to ratification by the general membership of the BSCFA, but at this level, the level of the directors and the CEO and the BSCFA's negotiating committee we have an agreement."

Mike Rudon, Ch5
"Could you give us an idea of the tone of the meeting this morning also the feeling of the farmers and of ASR?"

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"We had our difficulties, but we have an agreement. That's the last word. Getting into what happen in the course of arriving at that agreement I don't think will be helpful."

Reporter
"So, an interim agreement will be signed?"

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"A final agreement is to be signed. Subject as I said to ratification of the acceptance which we were able to procure this morning. Ratification of that acceptance by the general membership of the BSCFA."

So now they have to take it to the general membership - which can be a tough crowd

Jules Vasquez
"What will be the mood of those farmers? Will they be willing to say alright we will take that, or will they be in a mood to reject it?"

Ezequiel Cansino - Chair, Com of Mgmt, BSCFA
"Well, we believe that there is a need to start the crop and the proposals that we give to ASR, let's say it's the best that we can give them and we will try to present it to the cane farmers as it is for the best of everybody in the sugar industry."

Mike Rudon, Ch5
"Are you a little bit concern about that meeting on Sunday about convincing farmers, the thousand plus who usually attend that was done was the right thing?"

Ezequiel Cansino - Chair, Com of Mgmt, BSCFA
"Of course we are concern about that and we will try our best to present it to them."

Mike Rudon, Ch5
"Is there any internal conflict in the BSCFA? We notice specifically some of the people coming out just now are definitely not happy with happened upstairs."

Ezequiel Cansino - Chair, Com of Mgmt, BSCFA
"They have presented some concerns on the proposals, but I don't think it's something that we have conflict inside the association."

Jules Vasquez
"But you won't be relief it at all until Sunday."

Ezequiel Cansino - Chair, Com of Mgmt, BSCFA
"Until Sunday. That's definitely. Until Sunday we will know about that."

And until then, optimism is at best, guarded and in advance of that, none of the parties wanted to say much about details of the compromise:

Mac McLachlan - International Relations Advisor, ASR
"I believe we have some very constructed discussions today. I believe that we are on the right course to resolving a number of issues. There have been compromises on all sides and I am hoping that once BSCFA take that to their membership, the kinds of ideas that we've discuss today, we will be in a good place. I am not going to get into the ins and outs of what we've discuss."

Jules Vasquez
"If what was agree to up there holds at the meeting on Sunday, by next week we will have a final agreement that both sides can sign and when can factory open?"

Mac McLachlan - International Relations Advisor, ASR
"As I've said Jules, I am not going to pre-judge BSCFA. You will have to ask them on that point. But as far as we are concern I think we have a very good basis on which to reach an agreement early next week."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Since they have to go to their membership for ratification, I don't know that it's fair. They might want to be able as it were craft their message. I may have already said too much in terms of not preempting their own discussion with their membership and the need for them to sell what they have agreed to the membership."

And so all fingers are crossed - and the most optimistic plan is:…

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"The actual contractual document could be sign on Monday or Tuesday at the latest and the crop can start by Friday of next week."

Mac McLachlan - International Relations Advisor, ASR
"If BSCFA are prepared to sign the agreement with the ideas that we've discuss today, then there is no reason why the crop shouldn't start by the end of next week."

So the scene now turns the Escuela Secundaria Technica Mexico in San Roman Village on Sunday for the general membership meeting which starts at 9:00 am. The farmers will be asked to consider a 7-year agreement, a bagasse formula put forth by BSI, and to yield ownership of the cane dependent on future considerations for sugar by-products. We'll be there and let you know how it went on Monday night.

Channel 7