Paul: Why is coconut water being imported into Barbados?
Speaking to member of the media from his office at The BAS Grotto Headquarters on Monday, Paul said he was of the view that forging partnerships with members of the private sector as indicated last year would have been enough to lessen the trend, but he says there are now plans by another private sector entity to import coconut water into Barbados.
According to him, if those reports are correct, this can again drain the country of much foreign exchange and also impact farmers – noting that there is a farmer who is presently preparing acreage of coconut plants and others who have been doing likewise.
From all reports, Paul says 900 cases of coconut water from Guyana had been imported into the island by a private sector entity to be sold on the local market.
“Very often we hear the call from members of the private sector saying to Government we need to have more forefront policies on the part of Government and even that we need to increase our foreign exchange reserves. But how do we expect to increase our foreign exchange when the same private sector are engaging in activities that help to deplete the foreign exchange – especially in areas where they don’t need to?” he questioned.
A very disturbed Paul believes it is time now that Government and the Central Bank look at a system where persons requesting foreign exchange are subject to some type of scrutiny in terms of the type of products they are importing into the country.
He is warning Barbadians to be very careful about purchasing this imported coconut water since he claims it does not have a very long shelf life. Consumers, he stressed, should “boycott” the product if they were allowed to go on supermarket shelves and instead continue to patronise local vendors.
Paul also questioned the additives going into the water as he reminded Barbadians, “We already have a huge problem in this country when it comes to lifestyle diseases.”
He is calling on investors to get involved in ensuring that Barbados’ coconut industry is further developed, as it would lead to more employment opportunities for Barbadians.