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Statement the Prime Minister on the Establishment of a St Lucia Banana Industry Strategy Task Force - February 13, 2001

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Statement By

Dr The Hon Kenny D Anthony

to Parliament on the Establishment of a

St Lucia Banana Industry Strategy Task Force

February 13, 2001

A European Union funded technical team, with input from the banana companies in the Windward Islands, recently drafted a strategy for the Windward Island banana industry. While this strategy offers a general direction for the industry, the Government of Saint Lucia has recognized that it does not take into consideration the peculiarities of the St Lucian environment. The Government believes that a solution to the challenges facing the local industry needs to be refined through a process in which all parties in the private and public sectors can agree on the way forward.

In order to facilitate broad based discussion and consensus on the future of the industry, the Government of Saint Lucia has decided to establish a Task Force that will refine and focus the Windward Islands Strategy so that it represents a practical solution to the challenges facing the Saint Lucian industry. The Government is anxious, however, that there should be no re-inventions of the wheel. The Windward Islands banana industry has virtually been studied to death, and the output of this Task Force must represent clear, practicable, sensible and viable long-term solutions to the problems facing the industry.

The Government of Saint Lucia has held discussions with the European Commission delegation on this issue, and the delegation has agreed to finance the operations of the Task Force.

The Government wishes the Task Force to conduct its operations in a non-partisan manner, and for this reason both political parties are being requested to nominate one person to serve. In that regard, I have written to the Leader of the Opposition inviting him to name his representative to the Task Force. The Government has also noted the wishes of the private sector to become involved in fashioning a restructuring of the banana industry, and for this reason, the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce and the Saint Lucia Employers’ Federation are each being invited to nominate one representative. In order that the view of the industry are accurately captured in the St Lucia Strategy, each of the four banana companies will nominate one representative. One representative each from the Ministry of Planning, Development, Environment and Housing and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will complete the Task Force, with the latter Ministry providing the technical backstopping. The Task Force will be chaired by Mr George Theophilus, who has long and wide-ranging experience in the workings of the banana industry, both at the domestic and external levels, with Mrs Heraldine Rock, a long-standing farmer with extensive knowledge of the industry, as the deputy chairperson.

The Saint Lucia Banana Industry Strategy Task Force is required to submit to the Government a blueprint for the local industry by the end of March.


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