Regional rum producers have called on CARICOM (Caribbean Community) to facilitate the expansion of new markets for premium exports.

During a meeting held in Georgetown yesterday, Wednesday, with senior officials from Caricom, producers said that the region is well-positioned to capitalize on new non-traditional markets. They further emphasized that the region possesses high-quality products, packaging, and ample production capacity to take full advantage of emerging opportunities in these markets.

According to Komal Samaroo, the outgoing chairman of the grouping and chairman of local conglomerate Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), “The Caribbean is known as the birthplace of rum and has a reputation for producing premium and super-premium products. It is imperative that we capitalize on this reputation and our unique heritage to penetrate new markets where rising income levels are fueling a rapid surge in demand for quality products.”

The West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA) also elected its first female Chairperson, Margaret Monplaisir, who is the head of St Lucia Distillers. As the first female to chair WIRSPA, Monplaisir brings to the table 30 years of experience in the industry and has been a member of the WIRSPA board of directors for several years. In her new role, Monplaisir has pledged to maintain the high standards of governance and cohesiveness experienced by the organization.

She acknowledged, “We have many challenges to face, both in the supply chains and in the international market.” However, she remains optimistic about the future of Caribbean rum, stating that “Our products speak for themselves and we see a bright future ahead.”

A key agenda item for producers was the need to strengthen efforts aimed at reducing excessive alcohol consumption by consumers, with a keen awareness of the negative effects that overconsumption can have. Monplaisir stated “We agreed to ramp up our efforts to implement practical measures to reduce access by underage persons to alcohol and to support government initiatives to combat drinking and driving. We have the resources and the commitment to make a difference and we intend to do so.”

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, coinciding with Caricom’s own 50-year milestone, WIRSPA welcomed the response from the regional Caricom secretariat to its call for new markets and exchanged views on other trade issues, including the continued availability of quality glass packaging at competitive prices.

According to Samaroo “We have always enjoyed a productive and cordial relationship with secretariat officials, and this engagement cemented that. He added, “It complements our close collaboration with our governments to ensure the continued growth of this very important industry, now the number one non-mineral export earner for the region.”
Speaking at a reception hosted by Demerara Distillers, Prime Minster, Brigadier (Ret’d), the Honourable Mark Phillips, congratulated the industry on its achievements and pledged the continuing support of Guyana’s government to its growth in the international market.


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