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Tuesday, March 26, 2013 • The Broad Street Journal
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The broad street JOURNAL
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 • www.broadstreetjournalbarbados.com
Coke-Hamilton: Private sector should use Caribbean Export more
xecutive Director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency Pamela Coke-Hamilton sees an enhanced role for the organisation which extends into producing market intelligence for the region’s private sector companies. But, she said, while the latter would pay foreign consulting firms for such work, they Caribbean Export’s Pamela Coke Hamilton didn’t want to pay a regional entity to
do it. “We are very clear about that we need to take to market but we need to have the private sector partner with us. We can do advocacy, as many of us have been in the field.” Without that financial input, she said last week at the closing session of the agency’s first regional “colloquium,” held at the Hilton Barbados, “We are reliant on external funding to
carry out private sector development in the region.” She was referring to funding of Caribbean Export by the European Union’s 10th EDF (European Development Fund) as part of its Regional Private Sector Development Programme. Mrs. Coke-Hamilton summed up the situation as follows: “If we try to See EXPORT, page 2
THE GODDARD RECONNECTION
Columbus Communications’ Rhea Yaw Ching
Columbus on track to roll out service in April
Nearing completion: GEL’s new headquarters building at Haggatt Hall, St. Michael. Inset: New chairman Charles Herbert.
With no Goddards left in management or on the board, family shareholders look to the boardroom for indirect control.
By Patrick Hoyos
ith revenue down due to problems in St. Lucia over the government’s timing of its Value Added Tax implementation, Goddard Enterprises began the new calendar year with some catching up to do in its largest country market outside Barbados.
In its first quarter for fiscal 2013 (October-December 2012), GEL reported gross revenue of just over a quarter of a billion dollars, just over four percent below its previous year’s Q1 revenue of Bds$262 million. But net profits attributable See NEW ERA, page 2
Shoestring Studios tapping corporate market By Amanda Cummins
M John Poulter and Brian Marshall. Photo courtesy Shoestring Studios.
usicians Brian Marshall and J.J. Poulter, well-known in Barbados as the two-man band Kite, had never thought of getting into the commercial recording studio business. As Mr. Poulter says, “we recorded our own albums because it was costeffective for us as independent musicians.”
Through the experience of recording two albums, the two artists became quite proficient, and then, as Mr. Marshall says, “we just started getting calls to write and record jingles for people. It snowballed from there.” Today Mr. Marshall is production director and Mr. Poulter is director of operations of Shoestring Studios, “an awardwinning boutique music production and sound design facility” (from their LinkedIn profile). The studio, established in 2003 for the purposes of recording Kite’s albums, formally began doing commercial work See SHOESTRING, page 3
Anticipation grows for the April roll-out of Columbus/Flow’s products and services, enhanced by its recently-announced acquisition Karib Kable, to give customers a “larger footprint,” both here and regionally. Columbus’ Barbados rollout in April “will have a very interesting exposition” featuring all of the products and services it will be offering, and will be open to the public,” says Rhea Yaw Ching, Columbus Communications’ corporate vice-president for sales and marketing The event will give Barbadians a chance to “live and breathe the Columbus way,” she promised. At its launch last September Columbus had said its first cable customers would receive service at the end of the first quarter, and therefore things remain on plan. Both services were going to be rolled out over three years, said Ms. Yaw Ching. “We will be integrating the Karib Kable operation into the Columbus operation. So, essentially, any customer who is in the Karib Kable footprint would be offered a Flow service on that network, once all of the requirements have been fulfilled and we are ‘go’ for launch.” In terms of subscription TV, See FLOW on page 4
2 The Broad Street Journal • Tuesday, March 26 2013
NEW ERA, from page 1
to shareholders was down by almost 30%, at just under Bds$9.7 million, versus $12.8 million for the same period the earlier year. And although the group’s debt-to-equity ratio remained healthy at 38:62 and its cash flow positive, the chairman and CEO in their joint report stated that “We expect the remainder of our financial year to be challenging, with continued pressure on sales volumes and costs.” But the dip in earnings in the last quarter doesn’t take anything from Goddard Enterprises’ achievements: In 2013, it is the largest home-grown publicly-traded company on the Barbados Stock Exchange. It grossed $900,000 dollars short of a billion dollars for fiscal 2012, when it returned to profitability after writing off its recent losses in hotel investments of much wider controversy. And it did this in a corporate environment which has seen almost all of the Barbadian-owned, publicly traded companies willingly sold off by their aging shareholders to Trinidadian corporations. Despite these achievements, Goddard Enterprises Ltd. is a company in the midst of an important transition, a new chairman having been appointed in Charles Herbert at the end of January, and a search underway for a new CEO due to the impending retirement of current holder of the post, Martin Pritchard. Mr. Herbert, who only joined the GEL board a year ago, is the first director not from within the executive ranks of the company to assume the chairmanship. He succeeds Joseph N. Goddard, who had become chairman in 2005 after serving the company in management positions from the time he joined in the 1970s, and had been given responsibility for all group operations from the time of the late Sir John Stanley Goddard’s illness in 1987, eventually becoming CEO in his own right. Joseph Goddard was succeeded as CEO by Martin Pritchard, the group’s former financial controller, who had also worked his way up in the company over many decades. With the departure of “Mr. Joe,” the Goddard family, gone from the executive corridors since 2005, are now also gone from the boardroom. Last year, with the family still controlling over half of the company’s 53 million issued shares, the board took the decision to remove from directorships all executives who headed up company divisions, leaving only the CEO as an ex-officio member. This move allowed for the appointment of three new directors with Goddard family connections, of which Mr. Herbert was one. In an interview with the Journal, Mr. Herbert said the company believed this was the type of corporate governance now best suited to managing its far-flung enterprises, as it would allow the board to act as a check and balance on the management, in the interest of the shareholders. The fact that when GEL moves to its new head office, currently being completed at Haggatt Hall, there will be no member of
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GEL’s outgoing chairman, Joseph N. Goddard. Photo from GEL anual report. the Goddard family in the senior management - and possibly none working for any of its subsidiaries - conjures up memories of ‘back in the day’ when the family not only owned the company but rolled up its collective sleeves and ran it every day. It was natural to see a Goddard on the floor of a company-owned supermarket or retail outlet in Barbados. In the halcyon days, the top executives would meet for lunch every day at the family home at Fontabelle (where Hanschell Inniss is now located). It is that entrepreneurial spirit that the new chairman would like to see rekindled at GEL.
r. Herbert is a successful entrepreneur in his own right, having built up the local branch of Eckler Partners into a 20-person strong and fastgrowing actuarial firm, with its own building in Balmoral Gap, Ch. Ch. At the time of his elevation to the GEL chair, he had served as a director of Williams Industries Ltd., another leading Barbadian corporate group, for a decade. He says we can expect to see a lot of changes in the board and management culture of GEL going forward, with all efforts aimed at “energising growth.” A major area of concern for the group is the current level of subsidiaries being given to Puerto Rico and USVI rum. “The rum industry is very difficult at the minute,” said the new chairman. “Rum is a big thing for Goddards. I don’t think the public understands the size of the rum distillery, that 80% of the distillation of rum in Barbados is done by the (GEL-owned) West Indies Rum Distillery, and that it is an important part of Barbados’ heritage.” The increased subsidising of U.S. rum by the American government, he said, “has been giving us a hard time for a couple of years. It’s now very hard for us to competitively sell alcohol into the U.S. - the cards are stacked against us.” GEL also part-owns two distilleries in Jamaica, which also suffer from similar
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subsidy problems. “We think that we’ve made huge gains in the efficiency and the running of the rum distillery, but your success is more dependent on these political issues, rather than on what you actually do yourselves,” added Mr. Herbert. But he was wary about government giving the industry tax concessions or subsidies to help out with the situation because there were already too many of them and they “all end up as being costs for our consumers.” He thinks Barbados should take the case to the World Trade Organisation in hopes that it would order an end to the U.S. subsidies. Mr. Herbert believes that a “big source” of GEL’s strength is that is diversified early and moved out of just trading locally to doing so in the region and even hemisphere. “There’s no doubt that the catering business is a very important area for us and a very large section of our business, and that (division) operates in 26 countries.” Apart from another home-grown Bajan success, Automotive Art, he says it would be difficult to find another company which has so many franchises or subsidiaries in other countries besides Barbados. “That’s one of the reasons we have Dereck (Foster) on our board from this year,” he says, “to bring some of that culture (to Goddards).” GEL may also now be the largest private employer in St. Lucia, with business holdings in both wholesale, retail and other areas. He says St. Lucia is a very important market for GEL and also a very difficult one at the moment. The late changing of the date for the launch of VAT caused major headaches for all businesses operating in that market, GEL’s being no exception. “Typically, if you’re taking consumption taxes and replacing them with VAT, people want to have run their stocks down,” he explained.
But with the St. Lucia government suddenly changing the date, “people got caught out of sync with their stocks and ended up paying consumption tax as well as having to charge VAT,” he said. Another problem with St. Lucia’s VAT, he said, was that it doesn’t have a distinction between zero-rated and exempt goods. “The difference is that on zero-rated you can reclaim the VAT that you incur on goods that you sell zero-rated, while on exempt you can’t. They don’t have zero-rated in St. Lucia, only exempt.” Not allowing for zero-rated has made it “very complicated” for companies selling both types of goods, making it harder for them to determine how to apportion what part of their VAT costs can be recovered. “In three months, we saw sales drop in St. Lucia by 30 percent.” While sales have picked up, GEL doesn’t know if it will ever recover the full loss of revenue. “The challenge is to retain the culture while adapting to its new leadership position, which is no longer an owner-leadership position. So that in itself brings about changes in how you control the management of the company and the board. I think that is the challenge - to rekindle the old entrepreneurial spirit,” Mr. Herbert told The Journal. Acknowledging that company may have been “a little bit dormant” over the past two years, Mr. Herbert noted that with over half of the company’s shares still controlled by family interests, “we still have a strong family mandate, even though it is kind of loose (that is, family shareholders spread out around the world), and they want to see the company grow.” He adds: “We are very bullish about where we think the company can go in the next five years.” •
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013 • The Broad Street Journal
SHOESTRING, from page 1
in 2010. Their credits include American prime time TV networks shows such as the Ghost Whisperer, Jericho, Lincoln Heights as well as ESPN, and films such as Stone Angel. Shoestring Studios has also produced award-winning jingles and commercials for international brands such as Virgin Atlantic, Rubis, Sun General Insurance, British Airways, Royal Bank of Canada and Kärcher. Before that, duo informally wrote and recorded jingles and commercial advertisements. After Kite’s first album Mr. Marshall, who comes from a family background in sales, became more and more interested in the technical side of recording, and began to take online courses in fields such as sound restoration and sound mixing. Mr. Poulter, also drawing on many years in sales and marketing, says that officially opening the studio was the next natural step. Neither artist has formal music training, but “that’s not to say we don’t know music theory or what people like to hear,” Mr. Marshall says. Both men credit their nearly two decades playing in live bands, as well as self-marketing their bands, with a lot of their success. Having a broad musical repertoire, as well as “having to read a crowd on the spot and know what they want to hear has helped us immensely,” Mr. Marshall says. “In many ways,” Mr. Poulter maintains, “not having a formal music education has been to our benefit, because we don’t approach jingle-writing from so technical or academic an angle; we don’t get too caught up in rules. Rather, we know how music should feel.”
What does your brand sound like? J.J. Poulter and Brian Marshall of Shoestring Studios can suggest a few ideas. He adds: “We try to write jingles that sound like songs. People tend to tune out if they think something they’re hearing is just a jingle, but if it sounds like a ‘real’ song, they let their guard down and listen, and by the time they realize it’s a jingle they’re already singing along.” Shoestring Studios specializes in what the two business partners refer to as ‘sonic branding’. “What sets us apart,” Mr. Marshall says, “is that we have found that we’re really good and figuring out what a brand should ‘sound’ like, based on their demo-
graphic and product or service,” a talent both men say they began to develop while playing in bands and honed as time went on. This background in music, as well as the four years they spent working in radio, has also helped them to move with the times. “Sonically, things are becoming more internationalized, and we can tap into that,” Mr. Poulter says. “It’s effective to write something that is not only memorable, but is also competitive in international markets.”
Shoestring Studios does not only compose jingles. They also compose scores for TV shows, films, and advertisements, and do sound restoration in clips with bad or damaged sound or a lot of background noise. In cases where an advertisement is just spoken, wherever possible they compose the music bed rather than simply using a stock track. “That’s the fun for us,” Mr. Marshall says, “we love the challenge of composing for businesses, and having to get right to the point and get the message across in 30 seconds.” •
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4 The Broad Street Journal • Tuesday, March 26 2013
The power of the individual brand
he shift in focus by the Caribbean Export Development Agency from promoting emerging, cottage-industry products to seeking to help already-established regional brands find new markets outside their comfort zones, is welcome As noted elsewhere in this edition, Caribbean Export’s manager for trade and export development, David Garcia, says the region’s export thrust should be on brands with global potential.
Mr. Garcia said that Caribbean Export’s missions and trade shows were no longer about just taking small entrepreneurs to display their products. It was more about whether a brand could produce and deliver the number of units ordered on time, wherever in the world they were needed. And while admitting that the shift to working with alreadyestablished regional brands “will single out the fittest of the fittest,” in order to be successful “we must work with those companies which have the DNA to get there.” Mr. Garcia added that it was not about who had the best hot pepper recipes, as the global brand “Tabasco (Sauce) will sell better than any of them.” It might sound harsh, but it is the truth. Complementing Mr. Garcia’s points were a few made by the The agency’s “Authentic veteran Jamaican business executive Jimmy Moses-Soloman, also Caribbean” brand may delivering closing thoughts at last have been successful to week’s Caribbean Exporters’ Colsome extent, but clearly loqium, organised by Caribbean As also reported in this it has not taken regional Export. edition, Mr. Moses Soloman, who producers or brand mar- worked for many years with Grace Kennedy and prepared several of its keters into the space strategic marketing plans, regional they need to be. companies should not be pressured into using produce or raw materials available only in their home countries or even the region as a whole. He offered as an example, Grace Coconut Water, which sources its coconuts in Thailand. Jamaica could never produce the number of coconuts needed to supply the global demand this product had created, he said. We are reminded that for years - and to Barbados’s pride - the rum that is sold under the Malibu label worldwide is made right here in our island by a locally-owned company, West Indies Rum Distilleries. Similarly, but in the world of entertainment, for years Barbadian entertainers were tied to local sources of rhythm and melody, expected to compete in the world only in the realms of calypso, reggae, soca, spouge and traditional folk music. Today, a new generation of Caribbean people has given us at least two major international entertainers, Rihanna and Nicky Minaj. They are proud to be from the Caribbean and some of their musical influences may come through in their work, but their music is international. They are also brands now, if the term can be applied, at least metaphorically, to a person. In its earlier years, Caribbean Export’s efforts revolved around giving regional products the agency’s “Authentic Caribbean” brand, as long as their standards met the criteria. This may have been successful to some extent, but clearly it has not taken regional producers or brand marketers into the space they need to be, which is to cross over into the mainstream while maintaining their Caribbean image if it fits the image. The failure of the Authentic Caribbean brand for a one-size-fits-all level of quality is paralleled to an extent by the failure of the Virgin brand. While it has worked spectacularly accross a handful of products and services, notably music in the 1980s, some airlines, plus a mobile provider and financial institution in the UK, it was not enough to lift all of the boats bearing its name. The thrust to create global brands from the region will involve in many cases licensing the process, combination of ingredients or other factors which go into the making of the brand, using copyright and intellectual property laws. This may be new to most regional manufacturers, but earning royalties in that way while giving a manufacturer somewhere else the right to produce your brand for its domestic market, is established practice. That ship is already successfuly navigating the global trading waters. It is about time we got on board. •
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Karib Kable’s kiosk at Sky Mall, demonstrating the image clarity of fibre cable. Photo by BSJ. TELECOMMUNICATIONS
Barbados going with the Flow FLOW from page 1
Barbados already has MC-TV, DirecTV and more recently LIME TV, with which Columbus will compete. “Barbados is one of the few countries where it is so highly competitive in each space that we operate in - in video, in broadband and voice,” said Ms. Yaw Ching. But Columbus will not be offering any mobile services. Apart from subscription television, it will offer fibre-to-the-home for Internet access, and landline voice. The latter service will be accessible from anywhere there is a wireless or 4G connection. “It’s a new look on landline voice, it’s portable landline voice (service), if you will,” explains Ms. Yaw Ching. At the time of its announced takeover of Karib Kable, Flow’s all fibre network was “almost completely built out in Trinidad” and “at 70% in Curacao, 80% in Grenada and just past 50% in Jamaica,” according to Ms. Yaw Ching. With no “physical presence” in any of the other islands, Karib Kable’s operations in St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Antigua - as well as its fast-emerging network in Barbados - “becomes the platform on which we can build and enhance our operations in those markets,” she said. as for Barbados, she said it was “one of the most sophisticated and broadband-adopted markets in the Caribbean and you should be proud of that,” she says.
What is Columbus’ value added for consumers? Bandwidth. “Without a proper bandwidth access to the country you don’t have the economies of scale to provide lowercost broadband service. That is essentially what Columbus brings to the market.” What benefits can bandwidth bring to the economy as a whole? Says Ms. Yaw Ching. “The country becomes connected with the level of bandwidth that allows enterprises to spawn and industries to take off, allows ecommerce to just blow up in a real and significant way, and from a consumer standpoint it absolutely allows customers to take advantage of first-world speed at affordable prices where you wouldn’t ordinarily have been able to before.” Columbus’ impending roll-out has seen greater marketing activity by competitors already in the market, but this is to be expected, she says. “When Columbus announces entry to a market it usually sees incumbents raising their profiles, dropping prices, increasing speeds and this was no different in Barbados,” noted Ms. Yaw Ching, adding, “it has already happened (in Barbados) even though we are still a few weeks away from our official launch. “It’s a great sign because it means we have won on behalf of the customer,” because the entire customer base will feel the effects of better service and products. “They make that choice, essentially, on service.” •
Graphic from Columbus showing its Caribbean fibre network, most of it undersea.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 • The Broad Street Journal
How Peter Chesham became Barbados’ copper “king” By Patrick Hoyos
erial Entrepreneur Peter Chesham describes his company, Recycling Preparations Inc. (RPI), as a scrap metal company, not a recycler.
You might say Mr. Chesham is the “copper king” of Barbados, since he estimates that RPI, which he started in I994, purchases around 80% of all copper sold as scrap metal here in Barbados. While other scrap metal dealers are much bigger and deal in a wider variety of waste and metals, RPI deals in non-ferrous metals only (copper, aluminum and brass). Among the other businesses he has been involved in here over the past two decades have been the Barbados Golf Club at Durants, the Barbados Golf Academy, later turned into the Ocean Park tourist attraction, and the popular “skylifts” used on construction sites, which he later sold to Williams Industries Inc. He is also a shareholder in Caribbean LED Lighting. Asked about his eclectic business interests, Mr. Chesham says that as a youngster he had only one goal (if you will pardon the pun) in mind - to play professional soccer. He was off to a good start, playing for Luton Town, which was at the time in Division One, but injuries came along and took his budding soccer career away from him. “That was my ideal life,” he recalls. “So I went in to bricklaying, which you would call masonry here.” His apprenticeship over, he moved into management and began buying or starting businesses and then selling them off and moving on to new challenges. Where did his entrepreneurial instincts come from? “I don’t know, he says. “I would just see things I like, things which appealed to me, and I’m the sort of person who never, ever looks into something thoroughly because I have a theory on that: You will find all sorts of reasons why you won’t do it.” The business to which Mr. Chesham gravitated over the course of a long career - he’s now in his early seventies - were mainly based around shop-fitting and manufacturing of display units, but he also owned a security company. He built them up and sold them because he got bored after a while. “I tend to get bored very quickly,” he notes. In fact, RPI, his non-ferrous metals business has been going longer than most other businesses he has owned. He likes it, he says, taking things that are otherwise going to be thrown away and after separating and compacting them, shipping them abroad, earning the island foreign exchange in the process. Mr. Chesham came to Barbados about twenty years ago to live, having married a Barbadian in 1989. He spent a couple of years settling down, but then began to look at things to do in business. He had offers from people who valued his investing and managerial skills, but nothing appealed. Then, one day, his brother-in-law invited him to Antigua to meet a person who had a small recycling business. “He had a little unit on the road to the dump where lorries would stop and drop off scrap metal.”
It appealed. He doesn’t know why. Maybe it was that you didn’t have to buy any raw materials to manufacture anything - it was processing natural resources which were literally about to be thrown away, he says. Mr. Chesham invested in the Antigua business. They would collect the material, sort it, put it in a container and ship it away to a large processor, which paid in foreign currency. Most of that business was in recycling soda cans, he recalled. After a time, Peter brought the business to Barbados. Equipment was added to cut up and compress the metal into bales and to move it into containers, large scales were purchased to weigh the scrap before shipment, and lorries bought to transport it
to the port. Each container shipped abroad today holds about 25 tonnes - or just over 5,000 lbs. - of metal. The Florida company which purchases the metal then consolidates and re-ships its purchases to buyers all over the world. He notes that there are several different kinds of each metal, based on quality, and these much be grouped together when shipping. “If we put A-grade stuff in with C-grade we will only get paid the lower price,” he said. Between 1994 and 2006 the business hummed along, but then the price of copper leapt off the charts to where it is today. Aluminum prices have also risen but CEO Peter Chesham next to bundled metals at RPI. Photo by the BSJ. See CHESHAM, page 7
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6 The Broad Street Journal • Tuesday, March 26 2013
EXPORT, from page 1 charge there will be protests, so when the EDF money runs out Caribbean Export will take a dive again.” Meantime, the agency would put together the recommendations coming out of the conference and convene another session in last quarter of the year to discuss them, she noted. “The idea is that this is just the beginning.” In his closing remarks, Caribbean Export’s manager for trade and export development, David Garcia, said the region must focus its export efforts on brands that have the potential to become globally successful. Referring to Caribbean Export’s shift in focus, he said, “What you have seen over the past year-and-a-half under a new executive director are export-branding programmes.” While the new policy had not been very popular at first with the private sector, it was producing results, he noted, saying it involved working with established brands which had the potential to get into new markets through franchising. Caribbean Export’s missions and trade shows were no longer about just taking small entrepreneurs to display their products and trying to matchmake them with new contacts, he said. And while the shift
Copper “king” CHESHAM, from page 6
not like copper. About two-thirds of all the metal shipped by RPI is copper, and the remainder is aluminum and brass. RPI today grosses around Bds$5 million per year, but its costs have risen due to the escalation in price paid for copper in Barbados. In the early ‘90s, he said, copper was fetching about US$1,200 per tonne on the international market. Today, it is US$7,700 per tonne. At the same time, the price paid for copper by the scrap metal dealers in Barbados has moved from Bds60 cents per pound paid back in the early ’90s to around Bds$4.00 per pound, a result of local competition to dominate the lucrative second-hand copper market. Mr. Chesham says he is worried about the new legislation covering the scrap metal business in Barbados, which has come about due to the sharp rise in crime relating to gold and other precious and non-precious metals. The new Act, titled the Precious Metals and Second Hand Metals Act 2013, came into effect at the end of January, and while Mr. Chesham understands the need for action to be taken, he says the way the legislation is worded will eventually drive his business into the ground. Currently, RPI, he says, takes the names, ID, telephone and motor vehicle licence numbers of the people who bring in copper and other metals to his firm. “Everybody who has been arrested for theft in the past few years,” he said, had been nabbed by the long arm of the law thanks to information provided by his firm and the other major scrap metal deals, Scrap Man, run by Brian Cozier, and B’s Recycling, run by Paul Bynoe, which process other materials besides copper and non-ferrous metals. Mr. Chesham says he would like to see his company come to an agreement with the other two major copper purchasing operations to bring down the price being paid for copper, as that would in itself go a long way to take the profit out of the market for the professionals. If that doesn’t happen, and if the new legislation does negatively affect RPI, as he predicts, it may well be that the copper king will, sooner rather than later, abdicate his throne. •
Prime Minister of St. Vincent & The Grenadines Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and Caribbean Export’s Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton shortly after the prime minister’s speech to the colloquium at the Hilton last week. Photo by the BSJ. to working with already-established regional brands “will single out the fittest of the fittest,” in order to be successful “we must work with those companies which have the DNA to get there.” Mr. Garcia said the new global framework required understanding of global value chains. It was not about who had the best hot pepper recipes. “Tabasco (Sauce) will sell better than any of them,” he said. Global branding was what it was all about now, he said. “We have to stop taking peo-
ple to trade shows who have no hope of delivering product, and who may not even have business cards.” He added: “We must negotiate on the ability of the private sector to produce brands that can compete on a global level,” and “try to capture the intellectual property that comes with the brand.” Setting the stage for Mr. Garcia’s remarks was James Moss-Soloman, a former marketing executive with Grace Kennedy, the Jamaican food manufacturer. The concept
of cultural origin of a product was no longer relevant, he noted, as it had been replaced by the “building of brands.” For example, he said, “Del Monte Food Cocktail contains items grown in several parts of the world, so why must we be able to grow grapes in Barbados?” Instead, he said, “we must access them from where we will be competitive and it is not always at home.” Mr. Moss-Soloman admitted that Grace Kennedy had been criticised for using coconuts grown in Thailand for its brand of coconut water. But to use home-grown coconuts, he said “We would have had to dig up the whole of Jamaica (to plant the trees) and still not reach our potential.” He said Banks Beer could not competitively make beer in Barbados for shipment to, say, Australia. “You can’t ship water on water” and remain competitive, he said. David Jessop, managing director of the Caribbean Council, summarised the points being made simply by saying, “Growth needs brands.” He said it was agreed the region needed to adapt to a “rapidly changing” world with innovative solutions and a growth agenda. “We need to to focus on fewer things that we do well,” he said. •