Cosmos Richardson, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, International
Financial Services and Consumer Affairs, Mr. Mr. Ben Emmanuel, Deputy Permanent
Secretary, Mr. Tedburt Theobalds, Chairman, Bureau of Standards Council, Dr.
Alison Plummer – Director, Bureau of Standards, staff of the Bureau, panelists,
am pleased to see the bottled water industry and all other sectors so well
represented here this morning. This seminar addresses issues that are not only
crucial to the work of the Ministry Commerce and Consumer Affairs, but to the
general public. Water quality has
always been a topical issue as it is the most widely consumed commodity among
all age groups. It is not surprising therefore, that consumers will continue to
be concerned about the wholesomeness of the water they drink. This seminar is of
particular importance to the Ministry because we are concerned with both the
needs of consumers and the responsibility of ensuring that Saint Lucia can
sustain a viable industrial bottled water sector, which has demonstrated
substantial growth over the past few years.
total of five (5) bottled water companies are in operation today. In addition,
there are many underground reservoirs that have not yet been exposed to
pollution, and are capable of exploitation to satisfy the growing demand for
natural water, or water containing certain minerals. This industry has not been
spared from competition and purified waters from other sources are also entering
the island. It is crucial that we
set standards and guidelines for the production and promotion of these water
products to protect both consumers and producers.
is my opinion that the bottled water industry is vital to the success of
industrialization and growth of the economy.
This industry impacts on many other sectors.
Linkages are possible with Tourism and Health, and the need for proper
standards cannot be over-emphasized.
manufacturing sector has to face up to the reality of the global slowdown in
economic activity. Adjustments have
to be made and all interests in the economy i.e. service providers, producers,
consumers and other business owners have to take the necessary steps to ensure
our survival through these times.
this regard I want to call on financial institutions operating in St. Lucia to
exercise tolerance and adopt measures that will not compromise their
profitability but at the same time allow businesses to remain in operation.
institutions must consider giving special support to the small business sector
especially those involved in manufacturing.
Consideration for the rescheduling of loans and innovative repayment
schemes, new lines of credit are measures that can be adopted by financial
institutions to ensure the survival of small business.
business owners for their part must re-engineer and ensure proper
business and cash follow management. Changes
in personal lifestyles may also be a consideration to ensure survival of
experts tell me that water is a universal solvent and a perfect medium for
microbial growth and bottlers of water have a huge responsibility to protect the
health of consumers. Most hotels
serve bottled water, and the vulnerable sectors of the population i.e. infants,
the elderly and the sick tend to drink bottled water.
This exposure makes the need for sound food safety management practices
compulsory in the operations of bottled water plants.
Water produced must be safe and of consistent good quality. It is only
with “Best practice management practices" that consumers will be
confident and the viability of your business ensured.
demands for quality are high and international standards are being forced upon
local producers with limited resources to implement them. The question arises as
to how are we going to survive this global competition?
the “Blame game” will not help and we must devise policies to face the
reality of globalisation.
number one must be quality.
Bureau of Standards has recently been strengthened with additional professional
staff to work with manufacturers and guide them in implementing the requirements
of these international standards. The
purification of water is a very technical process and this seminar is the start
of the Bureau’s efforts in assisting manufacturers with their operations.
The success of the Bureau’s technical assistance programme depends
almost entirely on your willingness to work with the institution.
Co-operation is essential if bottled water manufacturers are to benefit
from the technical assistance being offered.
have outlined the critical value of water to the health and safety of consumers,
that is why the standard for this product has recently been declared compulsory. This means that in the not too distant future, the
requirements will be forced under a Compulsory Standards Compliance Programme
currently being developed by the Bureau. I
urge you to make use of the opportunities being offered by the Bureau and the
Ministry to strengthen your operations.
wish the participants of the seminar well and hope that the information received
is simple and understood by all participants.
Congratulations to the Chairman, Director, Board members and staff for
staging this seminar.
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