News, Top Story

Exciting Displays at Inaugural Business Expo

By Reginald Andrew
Saint Lucia Business Expo

Excellence at home and abroad is the underlying theme for this year’s inaugural Business Expo organized by Export Saint Lucia in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce, other ministries, agencies and stakeholders as part of the activities to celebrate Saint Lucia’s 44th Independence Anniversary.

The event, which started Thursday and ended yesterday had over 70 exhibitors and was accompanied by world-class entertainment at prime locations within the city centre, which included Constitution Park and the William Peter Boulevard.

The two-day exhibition was set to showcase and exhibit the excellence of Saint Lucian manufacturers and producers to the local public and visitors.

“This activity … gives a clear indication that the planners went all out to ensure the maximum participation from our business community,” declared Chair of the Independence Committee, Benjamin Emmanuel.

In spurring on the business community to continue putting out their best products, he said, “your focus on excellence is going to highlight the capacity and capability of our nation in manufacturing, services, and in the various areas that will be displayed here over the next two days.”

Saint Lucia Business Expo

Emmanuel continued, “This will give a clear indication that we as a people can forge (ahead) and determine our destiny by promoting, encouraging what is ours. By promoting and encouraging local and giving support to our business community, so that as a nation we can work together and forge our own destiny …and your focus on excellence is quite in keeping with that objective.”

Acting Prime Minister and Tourism Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire reiterated that the purpose of this event was aimed at “bringing our people together…and the impact and the effect of what it does to take our country forward.”

While acknowledging the input of the Ministry of Commerce and other related agencies for continuing the works that had been previously undertaken to elevate the promotion of local products, Dr. Hilaire called on all Saint Lucians “to join that ‘Douvan  Asanm’, so together all of us can continue the good works of the past, come up with new ideas and all work hard to build a better future for our country.”

Referring to the Business Expo, he asserted: “This is a very powerful statement of the capabilities of our people, our striving for excellence …it is a statement of who we are and let us continue working together.”

He said that despite the differences people encounter in their domestic, social and businesses relations, it is an opportune time “for us to remember that for our country to move forward, for our people to have a better and prosperous future, we must work together. We have to move together as one people shaping our destiny.”

Saint Lucia Business Expo

Minister for Agriculture, Alfred Prospere recalled that, while over the course of the past 44 years the banana industry was instrumental in the initial socio-economic growth of the country, “we knew that there was a serious need for diversification. We are at a crucial point where we must leverage what we already have, transform it and become a formidable force on the global market.”

He said strides have been made in Saint Lucia’s agriculture industry by utilizing “the agro-resources that we already have to produce a host of new goods and some businesses are even using them to create new services.”

“From established businesses like Baron Foods, which used our peppers,spices, and even bananas to create flavours enjoyed around the world…to emerging businesses like Just Gells, which uses sea moss to make smoothies and other healthy options,” Prospere said.

The minister noted that the many companies on display help contribute to the country’s economy and “our food basket and our food security. You are the ones who will help us reduce the food import bill, live healthier lifestyles and create opportunities for our Saint Lucian brothers and sisters”.

Prospere added that the ministry does not look upon the event as just an exhibition of locally produced goods, but as a testament to the resourcefulness of Saint Lucia’s producers.

“It is a place for culmination of bright minds and hard workers who offer innovative solutions and products,” he said.

Local Government Minister and Parliamentary Representative for Castries Central, Richard Fredrick stated that the event is of significance to the citizenry and “it means a lot to the business community” as they oftentimes do not get the opportunity to showcase their products on a wider scale.

He appealed to the public “to keep on patronizing the local business community.” And in the spirit of nationality this exhibition was made possible by the collaboration of several businesses, government ministries and agencies through “the unification of efforts”.

Commerce Minister Emma Hippolyte recognised the tremendous exposure that some Saint Lucian manufacturers have gained on the international market. She added: “Our country was built on the toil of our forefathers, from political forefathers like Sir George Charles and Sir John Compton…to the stalwarts that own businesses in this boulevard, like Sir Quentin Charles, the Cox and Beaubrun family, the Clarke family and the Adjodha family, they built this boulevard and it is fitting that you are having this Business Expo, here.”

The minister also recognized the contributions from local farmers, honey producers, agro-processors, and Saint Lucians at home and in the diaspora that have toiled and strived to serve the country, “we have much to celebrate in our young 44 years, we’ve had our dark days from hurricanes and economic crises over which we have no control to the choice that we make every day as a people, we always seem to bounce back, which speaks of the resilience of Saint Lucia and her people.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend