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Government of St. Lucia saluted as it becomes major shareholder in Winfresh

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Contact:  Shannon Lebourne


Monday July 4, 2011 – The government of Saint Lucia has been commended for its decision to acquire the shares of the Saint Lucia Banana Corporation (SLBC) in the regional export company Winfresh.


SLBC's Chairman Pat Joseph, founding member of the Corporation who has also been a major player in the banana industry for several decades, says this decision in the banana sector did not come easy but it was worth the battle.


In describing the decision by the government to purchase the SLBC shares as a first for Saint Lucia, Mr Joseph says he is very elated that the farmers of Saint Lucia will be the biggest beneficiaries of the government’s decision.


“That has never happened in the history of agriculture in this country. I have to take my hat off to the Prime Minister, the minister for Agriculture, the Cabinet Secretary and the entire government because they are the ones who took the decision to purchase the SLBC shares to ensure that the farmers of this country get something from their labour—in  many ways this is historical.”


The SLBC shares which were purchased by government after the company went into voluntary liquidation will be managed by the Saint Lucia Agricultural Holding Company to protect the interest of the agricultural community and the entire nation.


Liquidator to the Saint Lucia Banana Corporation, Mr Omar Davis, says the decision by the government of Saint Lucia is bold and innovative.


“The shares that SLBC owned in Winfresh represented 320% of the ordinary shares and 49% of the preference shares. By buying these shares from SLBC, the government of Saint is protecting Saint Lucia’s interest in Winfresh.


“The government of Saint Lucia will now own the majority shares in Winfresh—that is 35% of the ordinary shares and 49% of the preference shares. I think we have to congratulate the Cabinet of ministers and by extension the government of Saint Lucia on this step.”


The SLBC shares in Winfresh were acquired by the government of Saint Lucia at a cost of $EC26, 266, 000.00.

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