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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, right, and Terence Des Vignes, project manager at Sandals Resorts during a tour of the construction site of Sandals Beaches Resort in Buccament Bay on Jan. 30, 2024.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, right, and Terence Des Vignes, project manager at Sandals Resorts during a tour of the construction site of Sandals Beaches Resort in Buccament Bay on Jan. 30, 2024.

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.

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“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. 

6 replies on “PM urges farmers to band together to supply Sandals as Rainforest nets seafoods deal”

  1. nancysauldemers says:

    Well certainly, why shouldn’t all of us throughout the country organize ourselves so that things are as convenient as possible for Sandals? Why shouldn’t we funnel as much profit as possible into the hands of foreign investors and as little as possible to hard-working Vincentian fishermen, farmers and employees? And, last but not least, when Gonsalves speaks of two ways 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” is it possible he’s forgetting the Vincentian consumers who might also like to be able to buy locally caught fish or locally grown produce rather than having to do without or buy imported goods?

  2. As usual, when it comes to marketplace economics, our brilliant Comrade is correct.

    It is a sign of an underdeveloped country when you have thousands of independent sellers of exactly the same produce eking out a poverty level existence because of the small scale level of their production and sale of the fruits of their preindustrial labour.

    This also holds for small scale vendors who deal in the sale of the produce of small scale producers.

    In the wealthy countries of the world, most people, including well off ones, sell their labour — not products— to big producers regardless of whether these products are food, household items, personal services, or information.

    A large number of both independent producers and self-employed sellers — the nature of our food producing economy since the end of slavery — is a sure recipe for continued poverty.

  3. Hmmm, so what’s the purpose if the marketing board that they used to have, bad negotiations from careless government, given duty free to big corporations knowing that there are several countries they can get their goods cheaper than to buy it here.

  4. I’m inclined to believe that Rainforest is a part of the Sandals franchise. It’s all one big “callalloo cook up.” A gentleman by the name of Brian Jardim is founder and CEO of Rainforest. He was previously president of Sandals International. Do the maths!

  5. Talking on radio or TV is doing little to get the ball rolling. The agriculture department must be out there to show the people how to handle the produce, animals and seeds it has to offer farmers.

    I am not sure he knows what’s going on.

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