Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Caribbean Rum Producers "Won't be Bullied" According to WIRSPA

Dr. Frank Ward
     The West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA) will continue to lobby regional governments  looking for a solution to the dispute over the rum subsides to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday, August 20, 2012 - The West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA) is continuing to lobby regional governments to find a resolution to the dispute over unfair subsidies being given to its competitors in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) before ‘terminal damage’ is caused to the industry.

This was made clear by chairman of WIRSPA, Dr Frank Ward, in a release issued this morning (August 20) in which he stressed that the matter required urgent action and early resolution if the rum industry of the Caribbean Forum countries (the Caribbean Community plus the Dominican Republic) were to survive in their present form.

Dr Ward also made veiled opposition to the recently publicised stance by multinational rum producer Diageo that it might re-think its operations in the wider Caribbean if the Caribbean did not stop agitating for an end to the USVI incentives that allowed Diageo’s rum to flow into the US market at a cheaper price than WIRSPA’s member could offer, which Diageo strongly denied was the case. 

“Documented threats have recently been made in public against the rum industry in CARIFORUM countries. Such an approach threatens Caribbean economic sovereignty and suggests a failure by those involved to understand how small nations and their communities react to external hostility whether from multinationals or from governments. Such an approach will only strengthen Caribbean resolve,” stated Ward.

Read more: http://www.caribbean360.com/index.php/news/barbados_news/608248.html#ixzz24CHJYj4t

     Dr. Ward feels that the dispute is truly between the Caribbean independent countries  and the United States , and not between the rum producers.  It is in the area where ambassadors from thee countries must sit down and figure out what is really est ofr all involved.  This is something that need to be settled sooner rather than later, if not there could be some serious damge done to the growth of a spirit that has made some monumental steps forward in the past decade.