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The quarry site in Richmond on Jan. 19, 2024.
The quarry site in Richmond on Jan. 19, 2024.
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St. Lucian businessman Rayneau Gajadhar who began investing in a stone quarry in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) two years ago says his new company, Rayneau Industries intends to be “the aggregator of the agricultural products” in SVG.

Gajadhar told iWitness News today (Thursday) that the company is in discussion with Sandals Resort about supplying its Buccament Beach hotel with agricultural produce when it opens on March 27.

“Rayneau Industries is a company that will be doing exactly what you said. It will be buying and selling agricultural products, among other things. As the name says, it’s Rayneau industries. So, we will be doing other industries as well,” Gajadhar told iWitness News.

“Anything to do with manufacturing and production. And yes, we intend to sell for Sandals. And yes, we intend to sell to all the other distributors that are there. So, in other words, what we tried to do is to be the aggregator of the agricultural products, and we redistribute,” he said.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves announced that Sandals would not be buying agricultural produce from individual farmers.

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The company told iWitness News that it buys from a main supplier in all the markets in which it operates resorts.

Then, Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar that Gajadhar’s company in in the running to become the aggregator, a term that Sandals said was used by the Government of SVG.

Gajadhar used bananas as an example of why his company want to be the aggregators of agricultural produce.

“In the new region what has happened to the banana industry is they only take the best out of the bananas and the farmers are left with the 80% and 60% and 50% bananas. And this has caused them a lot of pain because they cannot sell it,” the businessman said.

“What I have done is we are buying all grades of fruits. It’s just that we paying different rates for the different grades. But what it does is when the farmer brings his product to us, we are not telling him we’re not taking it. If it’s rotten and it’s not good, that’s something totally different.

“But if the product can be used, we are taking the different grades or we are breaking it up and selling them to the various companies that would buy the different grades.”

Gajadhar told iWitness News that his company does not have a contract with Sandals.

“We are in negotiation with Sandals. We do have contracts in Tortola, in Barbados. But, however in St. Vincent, our problem is we cannot get enough product in St. Vincent,” he said.

“We are nowhere close to the amount of product that we can sell, nowhere close to getting that product. So, what we’re doing is encouraging farmers to go out there and plant but we will be able to market and buy everything that they can produce.”

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Businessman Rayneau Gajadhar in a January 2022 photo.

Stone quarry on farmlands running behind schedule

The government has leased 59 acres of prime agricultural lands in Richmond to one of Gajadhar’s companies for 30 years for the operation of a quarry.

Many small-scale farmers were uprooted from their farm in January 2021, learning about the lease arrangement when Gajadhar’s heavy equipment began ploughing through their fields.

Gajadhar told iWitness news he would not be producing agricultural products in St. Vincent.

“If we do anything agricultural, it is going to be like a nursery or a project that is going to just be like test projects,” he said, adding, “… what we are going to be doing is basically giving a guarantee that we will purchase your material once you produce it.”

He said his negotiations with Sandals began “with a phone call and we asked them and it’s the same as everybody else when we go into the region.

“We call people that we know that are buying. That’s how negotiations generally start.”

Gajadhar’s quarry is yet to produce a pebble, two years after it was scheduled to open and even as the port in Kingstown, is just over a year away from its projected completion date.

The government has said that the quarry was vital to supplying aggregates for the construction of the port.

“The quarry is going good,” Gajadhar told iWitness News. “We brought in our second and third shipments of equipment and we are loading now as we speak for a fourth shipment of equipment to come in. So come next couple of weeks you will see that we are going to be installing the equipment.”

He said that he anticipates that production would start in three months’ time “but as is now, we have started production without crushing.

“So, we have a 29,000-tonne order now. And that is for St. Vincent for the port. We are working on that order right now as we speak. You may see within three to four weeks barges moving from that area to the new port in Kingstown. This is just one of a number of orders that we’re going to be doing,” Gajadhar told iWitness News.

He said that the setting up of the quarry is running “very far behind schedule.

“… and one of the things that had caused it was the fact that this project was taken to Parliament to be debated. When that happened, I literally stopped and waited until it was all over before I started back. So that created a major wait for us.”

iWitness News noted to Gajadhar that any discussion in Parliament would not have undone the deal that he had signed with the government.

“You know, I’m the businessman and I stand the risk and there could have been a high possibility that it was stopped,” he said. “So, when that happened, I chose not to continue to invest and await its outcome.”

In justifying the leasing of the farm lands for the quarry, Gonsalves had said that St. Vincent is like a “like a big stone heap with good soil”.

However, Gajadhar told iWitness News that there was a lot more soil at the site in Richmond than he had anticipated.

“It was not what I anticipated. I knew it had a lot of overburden (top soil) but I thought the rock would have been much higher. However, we are there and we have to deliver to the government and people of St. Vincent.

“So, we are going to do it. Whatever it takes, we are going to do it. I made a promise and we’re going to keep it.”.

He said that in the two years since he first spoke to iWitness News, the price of aggregate in St Vincent had moved from around EC$45 per unit to between EC$100 and EC$125

“And I think what the government at the time saw was the increase in demand and that is why they wanted to push this quarry to move forward,” Gajadhar said.

“You know, anytime there’s demand and supply your prices go up, and it’s because of the greater demand — … you realise St. Vincent is doing much better now in terms of economic activity, new construction.

“I don’t even think they have started the road programme yet, which was one of the things on and when the road programme starts, there’s going to be a massive demand for aggregate in the country,” the businessman said.

“That’s what it is. So basically, what has happened, it has really forced the price of aggregate to go up, especially the fact that they’ve been important some of it and they’ve been important some of it from me in St. Lucia.”

He told iWitness News that some private sector entities in SVG have been importing aggregate from St. Lucia. 

“Actually, private sector people have imported from me,” Gajadhar said.

4 replies on “Rayneau intends to sell agricultural produce to Sandals”

  1. This man is talking sense unlike the backward bunch of clowns in the NDP talking all kind of stupidness about economic development in our economically challenged country.

  2. Again- the poor people of SVG are taken on a hard ride. Ralph, Rayneau, Saboto and Sandals already had this plan hatched to hood wink Vincentians in the guise of economic prosperity for Vincentians. The only people who are really benefiting from this hatched plan are ralph, Rayneau, Saboto and sandals. “The eyes of the servant looks on the master “
    The biggest risk for this project is if farmers don’t farm. And who now owns the farms? And who USED to own the farms? And who will be farming for Rayneau? Just like fisheries and all other primary sources of production- RALPH GUN-SALVES has taken bread out of the mouths of starving families- babies fathers and baby daddies looking for work, the elderly and widows; and young people looking for work and can only find jobs paying the equivalent of 4 pounds of fish $40 /day. And when GUN-SALVES wants to wrap up the elections he gives handouts just before Election Day. Unfortunately, the people who really need the help are too distracted trying to buy minutes for their cellphones which now in modern times are absolute necessities.
    But the problem of corruption and poverty go hand in hand. The problem is designed with no solution in mind. To be fair corruption and poverty is universal, but in most cases the people are motivated to change their condition. Not so in SVG. We can “talk all we want “ all we will continue to see is more of the same- GUN SALVES, Rayneau, Sandals and the likes of Caesar. How long will these thugs imagine vain things o LORD while Vincentians sit by the rivers of Babylon and weep when they remember Zion?

  3. Alison Goodluck says:

    C. Ben -David would it be fair game if one were to include not only you in a list of criticism but also your wife whose know well?

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