Sandals Resorts will not be buying fish and produce from individuals, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says.
He said the luxury resort will buy its seafood from Rainforest Seafood and he urged farmers to sell their produce to a similar “aggregator” who would resell to the resort.
“… I want the farmers hear me on this, I want the fisherfolk hear me on this. There are two ways you can sell your products. You can sell your products to people overseas or you can bring people here and sell your products to them while they consume it while they’re on the ground,” Gonsalves said.
Speaking on his Unity Labour Party’s Star Radio, he said the same goes for craftsmen, farmers, fisherfolk, entertainers, musicians, artiste, etc., and other such people who would get jobs from the resort.
He said he believes that Sandals “are pretty okay with the fish and conch and lobster.
“I’ll tell you the reason why. You know, we have a multiplicity of people who harvest fish, conch and lobster. And people who will sell independently to hoteliers.”
He said that people who throw seines and catch a lot of bait such as sprat and ballyhoo and sell the bait to trawlers from Trinidad who fish on the high seas will continue to do so.
“But there are others who are selling through — let us put a name to it — an aggregator. Sandals wouldn’t be so interested in 50 or 100 fishermen coming to sell them small poundage of this, that and the other but you have an aggregator — Rainforest. So, they buy and they will sell to Sandal,” the prime minister said.
He said there is no business person or persons as an aggregator, or aggregators, in respect of the agricultural products.
“So even if somebody’s in Park Hill, Vermont, Fitz Hughes, Richmond, they have products to sell Sandals is not going to be interested in dealing with 50 people coming to them with small quantities of tomatoes,” Gonsalves said.
“It’d be wonderful if somebody buys the tomatoes, has a contract with Sandals at a price and everything — quantity, quality, packaging, everything, all the standards. And you do that aggregation.”
He said the government has said it is willing to help such people through or outside of the Promoting Youth Micro Enterprises programme to do the aggregation.
“So that’s really the challenge there and I tell the private sector people you have to step up to the plate. We are here to help. Young ambitious businessmen and women, people who want to go into entrepreneurship could start to do this thing,” the prime minister said.