Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / Dear Editor: If Lok Jack loves Trinidad farmers so much, why doesn’t ABIL employ them?

Dear Editor: If Lok Jack loves Trinidad farmers so much, why doesn’t ABIL employ them?

“Has [Arthur Lok Jack’s Associated Brands Group of Companies or] ABIL ever supported farmers in Trinidad and Tobago to cultivate and supply sugar for its snacks, corn for its flakes, coconut for its cream filling and shortcake, and rice for its rice crisps?

“Has ABIL ever supported farmers in the UNC’s ‘Indian constituencies’, or any farmer in Trinidad to raise cows to supply milk for its milk chocolates and nacho cheese?”

In the following Letter to the Editor, Fatimah Mohammed from Chin Chin Road, Cunupia questions the sincerity of business magnate Arthur Lok Jack’s concerns about T&T farmers missing a glorious opportunity through Sandals’ pull out:

Photo: Guardian Holdings Limited (GHL) and Associated Brands Group of Companies (ABIL) chairman Arthur Lok Jack.

The billionaire businessman, Arthur Lok Jack, spoke on Wednesday night at the Sandals forum at UWI on the reasons why the proposed hotel resort pulled out of Tobago.

Lok Jack was visibly and audibly angry. He said his long-time friend, Sandals chairman Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart disclosed to him the real reason for the withdrawal. Lok Jack said Stewart was really upset with the criticisms of Sandals by the UNC Opposition.

Both men believed that the UNC denied its supporters in Trinidad the opportunity to grow and supply agricultural products to Sandals in Tobago. Lok Jack said: “It’s the same people in the United National Congress (UNC), it’s the Indian constituencies of this country who are the farmers [who would respond to the] tremendous amount of demand [by Sandals].”

Is this forecast really based on the facts of history?

Lok Jack is the chairman of the Associated Brands Group of Companies (ABIL) which is the leading manufacturer and distributor in the Caribbean of snack foods, chocolate confectionery, biscuits and breakfast cereals. Its brands include Charles Chocolates, Devon Biscuits, Sunshine Snacks, and Universal Foods Limited.

Has ABIL ever supported farmers in Trinidad and Tobago to cultivate and supply sugar for its snacks, corn for its flakes, coconut for its cream filling and shortcake, and rice for its rice crisps?

Has ABIL ever supported farmers in the UNC’s ‘Indian constituencies’, or any farmer in Trinidad to raise cows to supply milk for its milk chocolates and nacho cheese?

Photo: Universal Cereal choices.

If Lok Jack is so concerned about Indian farmers, why did he not step in to save the sugar- growing Caroni Ltd in 2003? His ABIL has been in existence since 1974.

Lok Jack is clearly playing politics.

If he is serious, he should set his own footprints for Sandals to follow.

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  1. He sounded like d 1% dem powerful untouchable know it all brothers. And guess dey probably know it all

  2. No he invested 20 Million in a future work force susided by GATE force these guys are long term planners

    • Joel you do know that there are persons who can’t access GATE because they may not be able to pay transport to get to the institutions or pay for the books to study from? GATE is great, but that is just part of the solution.

  3. Did anyone expect a billionaire businessman not to support another billionaire businessman? …
    Seriously though, given his argument in favour of Sandals, where does Associated Brands get its inputs from, ie how much local content is in those products?

  4. What about the 20 million the man invested in education?

  5. Remember what he and his friends did to the RBTT shareholders when RBTT was sold back to RBC ask how much was made for the sale of those shares …… these people have a track record . He may be a good businessman that is it but for capitalists it’s all about self interests

  6. Another narrow minded article. Now that SANDALS is gone what are the options? Who do you think the biggest loser was? Do you think Butch Stewart (CEO) of Sandals is going to lose an ounce of sleep? Do you think the SANDALS brand is any worse off WITHOUT a hotel in T&T. As for ALJ’s comments and the narrow minded calls to boycott ABIL…what happens when you do that and the business that employs HUNDREDS of persons and earns millions in FOREX for the country, starts to contract? Smh.

    • Malcolm Kurt Marquez you really worship capitalism boi.

    • No Lasana…..we have an economy in peril…tens of thousands are without jobs…..and a so called “intelligent” response to a local CEO making a comment about Sandals and farmers having lost out, is to boycott the Company and its products because you disagree with that comment????

    • ABIL earns millions in ForEX for ABIL.
      Not for “de corntree”
      Let’s not get it twisted.
      How much tax is paid here? How much capital in reinvested here? How much CapEX is spent here?
      ABIL generated ForEX for its own use–and rightly so.
      If i was in the same position heck I would probably make the same calls too!

    • Nobody asked to boycott anything! Where did that come from?

    • In my opinion that is narrow minded thinking…you know there is something called Business Levy, Green Fund and VAT right….you these represent earnings for the Government right? You know there is something called PAYE…and NIS contributions right? You know that most businesses have to employ auxiliary services right? In other words businesses generate business for other businesses……and on and on…..

    • Ezra Joaquim see comment from Deosaran above

    • Malcolm capitalism unchecked reduces people to nothing more than labour or purchasers.
      Trinidad and Tobago belongs to the people. We ought not to be the plaything of millionaire speculators.
      I’m proud of us for treating this negotiation with that in mind and hope it continues.
      If to disrupt is all the power we have left, then we will disrupt until we like the deal on offer.

    • Oh Ok, but yuh know nobody going and boycott anything because of a comment from Butch Stewart, repeated by ALJ.

    • As you “disrupt the power” and people starve and children suffer…I HOPE you will be willing to relook at things and say you were WRONG……SANDALS departing is a BIG LOSS for Tobago, its people and its economy. I hope all the naysayers and “armchair” critics have as good an alternative to put forward.

    • Ezra Joaquim how did the boycott of the ‘1%’ work out?
      We can call for boycott all we want, it don’t get widespread support.
      So it really is a non-issue.

    • Nerisha…..serious question (s)….. who exactly are the 1%? How are they defined or identified? And what exactly is their “crime”?

    • Malcolm people will starve across Trinidad if one billionaire has a bad month eh?
      Like I said, you really worship capitalism. But I don’t really knock other’s religion. That’s fine.
      Don’t impose your religious beliefs on me though.
      People adapt and survive. It’s in our DNA.

    • Malcolm Kurt Marquez HOW is it a loss?
      how is T&T building a 1000 room resort on fragile land a good deal?
      where is the business model for this great deal? are you assuming that Tobago Sandals would have been like Grenada, for instance?
      Cause they reallll happy with the fit of their Sandals so so should we?
      make the case nah bredrin? just 5 points

    • Dennis, sometimes the deal is the deal and you either take it or leave it. If you have 10 to 15 people lining up to do business with you, then you can push for the “ideal” deal. But when there is ONE person in line and no one else in sight and you turn down the deal saying you deserve better, then you might be in for an indefinite wait before another comes along…..and while you wait there is the “opportunity cost”…Tobago is in for a very long wait before another SANDALS type deal comes along….I estimate about a decade…but I hope I am wrong.

    • Malcolm no lies…but WE chose to ask questions. THEY walked.
      so that tells me they werent bout no savetobago vibes…them was on making that money. and cool…the DEAL sucked

    • Dennis Allen you all miss the point. If sandals builds 1500 rooms an avg stay of 3.5 days at 50% occupancy thats 1100 people visiting tobago every week.
      Thats 1100 who need transport to sandals
      Thats 1100 people who will use data roaming or phone services
      Thats 1100 people who pay departure tax (included in ticket now)
      Thats 5 planes that have to pay landing fees and aerodrome fees
      Thats 2200 hundred staff that need to eat sleep and live. If not a single one of them is a trinbagoian then thats $5000 per person in work permits. All this and sandals eh pay a dime in taxes yet

    • Lasana don’t try to frame the discussion as one against me personally….point of correction capitalism is NOT my religion…..as for the rest….your plan would seemingly play “Russian roulette” with people’s lives…and HOPE they adapt….you would scorn, chastise, and demonize the private sector and capitalism…and the hope the GOVERMENT can take of the needs…instead of encouraging private sector investment that provides jobs, investment, taxes and so many other benefits….that eventually accrue to the said taxpayers

    • Wendell Raeburn you ever been to a Sandals bru?
      The only thing more insulated than that type of resort experience is a cruise ship.
      ALLL of those things you talk bout here would have been SRI sources/run/owned companies.
      if you see what the Antiguans are complaining about is where alll them taxes went–cause the government didnt get it! Same for Turks & Caicos.
      5 plane? landing where??? hahahahahah DED

    • Dennis Allen if it makes you feel better not only have i stayed in sandals i have supplied their brand in barbados grenada and the Bahamas. In the case of the Bahamas there are 2 brands breezes and sandals and here is a fun fact as a result of supplying them the hotels around also started buying. Further because sandals is an expensive hotel approximately 15% (Travelocity reports) come again but stay at another cheaper hotel.

    • Dennis Allen thats what was so intersting about this model. Trinidad would have been the owner of the property collecting rent up front. None of this tax income if you declare a profit nonsence…
      I would be weary of simply listening to one side of the argument wrt antigua…. parliamentary cover allows one sided accusations without the responsibilty of having to be truthful ….

    • Wendell he fails to consider is that in going to Sandals in Tobago you would not have been able to stay therein the confines of the resort and still see and experience the Buccoo reef or Nylon pool….or Store Bay… or go scuba diving like you could in Speyside….he fails to realize that well to do persons staying at Sandals would have willingly paid additional to see and partake in these once in a lifetime experiences….and as someone who has been on cruises….I can tell you, that while the ship is great…you long to experience things outside of the ship….. so when the ship docks you go wild spending to see all that there is at the port the ship has stopped at….same line of thinking Dennis….pity some of our less discerning citizens couldn’t have seen things more broadly

    • Is there a realistic, published ROI report or impact study on the Sandals Tobago opportunity? In my adopted homeland there’s now a raging debate about the “Amazon effect.” For all the jobs it brought to Seattle, it also caused a spike in the cost of living, rising homelessness and a drain on schools and other services.

      It’s hard to decide how much we would have benefited from Sandals without real numbers, especially given the challenges with the Tobago Hilton.

    • ROI would first require an HONEST discussion of the total cost of the investment
      Nobody talking about the roads–that whole development is sheep pasture right now
      water treatment, sewage treatment–40% increase in the usage of water on an island prone to droughts. 5000-8000 pounds of food waste per day. the other 7000-9000 pounds of food will be converted to poop. where it going?
      airport expansion is currently under heavy scrutiny and has to happen before 2000 seats per week increase in traffic.
      where all that food going to plant? who going to plant it?
      you ever try to rent a car in Bago? if those 1000 Sandals rooms + Sunwing/Turtle Beach 500 + Magdelena Grand /Sunwing 280…what if a regu;ar CAL flight lands while a Sunwing 777 is deplaning?
      and the MAIN issue i have…who going and make all them bene balls for tourists to munch on?

    • You are actually making the point…to fill those demands….business would have developed around this…..to cater for all the things you have identified…..its called expanding the tourism industry…..we have smaller islands than ours that welcome closed to 7000 persons a DAY…..and when you go to them…their infrastructure and amenities pale in comparison to Tobago…our biggest downfall in Trinidad and Tobago are the NEGATIVE MINDS and NAYSAYERS who in and off themselves have nothing to offer…no practical alternatives, no ideas, no solutions……

    • Malcolm Kurt Marquez leave them nah. They who would curse progress have no difficulty using social media to do so. A media that they too were against. …leave them they like tobago just so with half a boat taking 5hrs to do something that used to be done in 2. They would give us back TTAS and an airport in which you have to look for cows when landing…leave them

    • Other governments and companies regularly get these types of questions and even more scrutiny. Why shouldn’t we do the same for Tobago? The government could have preemptively handled this by sharing an estimated ROI and impact study. How is it that we all know the details of the Brexit negotiations and agreements but had to fight to see an MOU? I’m a proud gonian and would love to see more investment and development on my rock. Don’t tell me and others that it’s not our place to ask questions.

    • Liselle….while you deliberate and ask questions I have pulled my intended investment in Tobago that was being done IF SANDALS was coming…and there are MANY others like me….investment and big projects bring more business…Tobago has lost out BIG TIME…in ways that my fellow brothers and sisters in Tobago cannot imagine….the SANDALS project and all the “spin off” benefits would have made the average Tobagonian VERY WELL OFF…..but alas we will never know now will we? Most of the persons who intended to invest in Tobago as a result of the SANDALs project are now redirecting those investments to Guyana, Barbados and St. Lucia….who knows you might end up having to go there to find a job in the future…..

    • What was your investment predicated on then if we don’t have a public impact assessment? I’m sure you deliberated and asked questions when you considered your investment?

    • It was predicated on good business sense and judgment…its what most successful business people have followed for hundreds of years…..its served me well all my life….why abandon it now…..in the end you offer no alternatives or options…just over analysis and criticism and negative speculation….so now Tobagonians will come to Trinidad for work, or stay unemployed or “follow the money” and go seek a job in Guyana, Barbados or St. Lucia….and SANDALS owner will still make millions next year and the year after and in all the years to come.

    • Then let me restate my position: a completely transparent procurement and planning process, including impact assessments and an ROI study would have preempted/blunted some of the opposition. A dismissive attitude that says you can’t ask questions is also unhelpful. We could have been in a completely different place if this had been handled differently.

      Good luck with your investments.

    • Maybe…though I doubt….those opposed had made up their mind in advance and were “dug in” on their positions…no amount of information or studies would have changed that……in the end though a very BASIC analysis would tell you that Tobago has come out worse for the wear….I don’t see anybody else lining up anytime soon to do a massive project like what SANDALS would have been….so bad judgment and bad luck for Tobago….the money and investments will now go elsewhere

    • There will always be entrenched opposition to any project, especially one that relies on government funding. And that’s a good thing in a democracy. That’s why the selling job needs to be transparent and comprehensive.

      As for future investments, it’s clear that we need to return to the drawing board.

    • How well all the above arguments workout for Tobago Hilton? Did it ever achieve such numbers? Is having a brand all that it takes for it to be successful? How much are we really willing to risk to find out?

    • I notice Dennis Allen chose to not respond to Wendell Raeburn comments about what he does as a supplier to the other territories and the benefits as a result involving the businesses around. He quite simply ignored it. Come on Dennis, engage Wendell on those points please.

    • hold on dey Peter…let me get my TEDtalk ready…

    • [cutting piece from my post cause…well..ain got the time]
      so Wendell and Peter
      When you add the 500 Sandals rooms + 750 Beaches rooms, with an average stay of 7 days and 85% occupancy, what do you get?
      850 people at Sandals
      2,550 at Beaches
      Each of the adults consuming 5,000 calories per day, the kids at 3500 per day, we’re talking about 14,962,500 calories consumed PER DAY
      5,461,312,500 calories per year.
      What’s the CURRENT consumption of Tobago? 88,366,500,000 calories per year.
      The Sandals/Beaches increases food consumption by 6% per annum.
      Much–if not most–of that would be premium food…pink salmon, iceberg lettuce, Idaho potatoes, duck, pheasant…
      A quick glance at our import bills, none of these things are either grown or supplied locally.
      So right away we know this will be imported (and not grown by the UNC Indians in central, as ALJ suggested).
      Sure…some paw paw and shadon beni will sell to Sandals, some pineapples from that guy down south…sure.
      Maybe even the chefs will incorporate “blue food” items into the menu…so yam, dasheen and eddoes will accompany the lobster backs.
      Where do we get those tubers? Grenada. St Vincent.
      So, for the immediate future, we see a rise in supplies from up the islands. What is more likely? Not that the prices for those things will rise? Then, when the higher prices become the norm and suppliers readjust capacity to facilitate the increase, the prices will stay up.
      The long-term shift is that the average Tobagonian will have to spend more to eat their staples.
      Blue crab. already hunted to much lower numbers, would be twice the cost. If yuh can find them (because the mangrove will be 17.5% smaller, according to the CEC applications).
      All that food eaten (and I haven’t touched food waste disposal) has to ? out eh…where that going? Doesn’t Tobago ALREADY have a problem with the fecal matter polluting the reef?

      Work the math and tell me how much of the ForEX we supposed to be generating actually just gonna be churning.
      1% companies to supply?
      SRI peeps to supply tru the shell companies as outlined in the non-binding MoU?
      Or Wendell go eat ah food from tourists eating ah food? [i want ah wok eh bredrin…]

    • Dennis Allen behave…let we fast instead…. using your argument lets stop making children cause they eat and poop…

      Ask the bahamas where they get their fx from?

    • Peter Corbie i mean no disrespect… this is not for me an academic exercise. The people who have time to nit pick may continue to enjoy themselves because they have achieved their goal ie no development and no growth. Good luck to you all with that.

    • thing is doh…it’s not MY function to resolve flaws in government policymaking, not is it my responsibility to offer solutions or alternatives.
      My wok is to ask questions of those who are in charge of the process.
      nobody is askin me for the Dennis Taye Development Plan for Tobago 2030
      but you hadda ask yuhself if i aint askin the hard questions…then who is?

    • Asking questions is easy…even the janitor in any organization can do that….providing solutions and answers very few can do………

    • After all the questions and rabble rousing and negativity SANDALS has moved on and Tobago has been left behind. Let’s see how well that works out for Tobagonians and by extension T&T

    • Malcolm or you might say Trinidad and Tobago was unconvinced and Sandals took its leave…

    • Lasana Liburd….you could……and now let unconvinced Trinidad see if they are better off or not…..I assure you that the US$ situation will NOT improve….and a devaluation…more taxes… further reduction of the subsidy leading to higher gas prices…increased unemployment….staff cuts in the public sector and increased cost of living are in the cards…MAYBE when the country is brought to its knees those are unconvinced will finally be convinced that sometimes “half a loaf is better than NONE” and a “bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”……..

    • Trinidad and Tobago has been on its knees ever since Columbus showed up. Sandals alone wouldn’t change that.
      There are people who would have benefited personally from Sandals being here. No doubt they are heartbroken.
      I don’t thing the average trini is naive enough to think that a private deal between politicians and business magnates that is so wonderful for the people that nobody wanted to give them information on it, was going to significantly alter their lives in a positive way.

    • Lasana Liburd cool …so errr ….what new and transparent ideas do the nay saying voyeuristic need to know everything crew have? I mean after all…..

    • well i for one wasnt taking that janitor wok yuh jus offered me eh Malcolm…and i did that work already in my lifetime.
      Perhaps it’s that what gave me the perspective that you seem to lack…
      You ever clean white people $hit bro?
      Mop up vomit?
      I have.
      So this cleaner is asking the hard questions on your behalf

    • Wendell by the “nay saying voyeuristic need to know everything crew”, I take it you’re referring to taxpayers right?
      I’d say just consider the questions a bright dude like yourself would raise if asked to invest your own money in a project.
      You should be well on your way with that. ???

    • Lasana Liburd there is something that you completely discount in your reply. Its called reasonable. At the end of the day every investment has a degree (some more than others) of uncertainty. It is par for the course. To put my answer more succinctly. I would happily invest in this project..without another question…quod erat demonstrandum

    • Wendell you wouldn’t be the first public servant to forget to about asking probing questions when in close proximity with the treasury. Unfortunately.

    • Lasana Liburd must you really descend into the absurd. You asked i answered …why pray tell, is there a need to be glib and snide just because we disagree. Come on man…

    • Wendell no offense meant at all so I apologize if it feel like a cheap shot.
      You said you didn’t need to ask a question. It is a fact that people ask less questions in handling the public purse than they do in their own personal business.

    • W.D.A. Allyuh *still* on this?! It ent bringing Butch back.

      So… after all dis bassa bassa, can we all agree that transparency and candor are vital? And then move on.

    • Liselle is $8bn worth of tote dem hadda tote ennoh…
      That’s like 57,000,000 “bai, ah shudda really play dat mark ennoh” stories…

    • Dennis Allen doh exclude yuhself. 🙂 If there’s no end game, is time to move on.

    • Liselle i am half pitbull eh…once i get a taste i cyar let it go…

    • meeeeee? I cyar even afford a Sandals garbage bag at this point…

    • Dennis Allen if it helps…I have done everything from clean crap, to sweep, to cut grass, to be a receptionist, you name it ….not sure why that is even relevant though…I don’t consider my self superior or inferior in my thinking for having done it…..

    • Lasana boss your line about T&T being on its knees since Columbus arrived speaks so much to the negativity that some citizens like yourself tote around and project onto this good nation….it might surprise you to know that there are some people in this country who came from nothing and made something and who’s ONLY desire is to see the country move forward and others benefit in the process…..

    • I jumping in late and want to make 2 points. And may end up a cockroach in fowl business. Tobago brand is no where near Bahamas nor Grenada imo and even willing to be wrong about it. But using them as examples is unfair. In addition, if we were going to invest in all things Tobago when Sandals got here, what’s stopping us from still doing it now to possibly hasten another deal because we now have better things in place for Tobagoians to benefit? Or do we only seek to look busy when massa is around?

    • Toco Nicky, unless you have an influx of persons into Tobago there is no business to be had…..SANDALS and the GOVERNEMENT investing in Tobago at levels the average business person could not…would have created a market that other businesses could have benefitted from…….

    • We still live in a largely MENTALLY enslaved country where some still wear the yoke of colonialism and can only interpret things through the lens of black and white or massa and slave…..sadly many of those individuals think themselves so academically smart yet they lack pure common sense or even the most basic understanding of business and economics…..and it is sadly this rut that we stuck in as a country…for the foreseeable future

    • Malcolm, I guess we wouldn’t even do it if it reduced our own importation bill?!

  7. I was in two minds about the Sandals project. The need for the investment vs the environmental impact on places like ‘No man’s land’. The current visuals of Maracas Bay did not help. But after reading Lok Jack’s “friend” comment after they chose to not go forward with the hotel I literally said out loud “Take yuh effin hotel and go!”

    People wonder and tote feelings about Lopinot from 200 years ago but entertain and knock glasses with the modern day massa “normel, normel”. It’s comments like these that you will never see in a the fine print details that Afra Raymond forever trying to obtain.

    “…Why were they complaining? The Indians would have been able to labour in the fields to supply my hotel with fresh produce!”

    “Careful ‘Butch’, your wannabe plantation classism is showing” should have been the response!

    • ALJ should be ashamed, but he won’t. He and his friends now see an opportunity to get Buccoo Estate. Someone should ask him about the $400M the govt pumped into Carlton Savannah, how successful was that venture?

  8. Boycott….make them put those sugar-loaded cereals where d sun doh shine….

  9. Sometimes even a billionaire needs to sing for his supper.

  10. ALJ made a statement years ago that, if he had a chance to do it all over again, he would never start a business in Trinidad.

    • if i recall he spoke of the economies of scale that he had to overcome in the early days and that had he applied that same capital elsewhere, with larger potential markets, he would have seen far greater growth and far earlier.
      to me…
      it sounded more like ingratitude than insightful business forecasting.
      At the #SandalsBuss postmortem ALJ really presented himself like a shopkeeper rather than an international business magnate.
      His arithmetic was sound, his logic was sound, he grasp of how Sandals operates was sound…
      However, his entire presentation hinged around one concept that was not applicable to the scenario: the use of private equity vs state funds to invest.
      they two are very different beasts and ALJ’s oversimplification of the deal was simultaneously both enlightening and misleading.
      Enlightened from the PoV of how easy megadeals are made over dinner
      Misleading about how easy private business can influence state leaders over crumpets and tea when horrendous consequences are ignored in favour of a megadeal.

    • Dennis too bad he wasn’t born with an American passport then. Although he might have had more competition in a different market anyway as he was starting off.
      Does sound more than a touch ungrateful.

  11. Do we have the agricultural acreage to sustain any of those crops listed?
    Far less the dairy needed for all those cereals?
    How about they turn their attention to the government and ministry of agriculture?
    It’s not Lol Jak’s role to develop the agriculture sector.

    • Arthur Lok Jack “friend” from Sandals said he didn’t understand the Indo-Trinidadians opposition to the project because is Indians who do the farming in Trinidad and they would have been the ones who would benefit by supplying fresh produce to the hotel. Lok-Jack had the gall to repeat that statement so the author is asking if local farmers supply any of his businesses with anything.

    • Still not his role to develop the agricultural sector

    • It’s “tongue-in-cheek”. Nobody is asking him to develop the agricultural sector. The author is saying that Lok Jack does not utilize any of the local agricultural sector in any of his businesses so don’t come and put them “in his mouth”!

    • Locally there are no reliable sources for those raw materials on a consistent supply, well priced and of quality suitable for his operations consumption.

      We simply do it have the agricultural acreage and infrastructure to support operations of his size.

      For example Nestle cannot get enough milk from local farmers to meet the demand, all of their milk products are imported milk powder with a couple using local milk added to the batch.
      As for their fruit juices they import concentrates. Apparently the orange juice/drink demand locally cannot be filled as the orchards required is more than the available farm lands in Trinidad.
      Local pepper sauce industries struggle to get peppers in large enough quantities.

      The fact is, Trinidadians do not want to work in Agriculture. The Gov’t barely supports it. Decades of mantras have given the impression that to work the land is a menial occupation.

      The recession in the 80’s and “buy local” mantra pushed by the Gov’t is where his business grew. The irony was that although manufactured locally most of his raw materials were imported and with government assistance via low/no duty tariffs etc.

      As a business man you will do what’s best for your business.
      As a farmer (a businessman of sorts) you’d do well to produce products that other consumers want.
      The govt should be supporting a heavy push towards agriculture in T&T

    • All of the above is factual and very commenable. But has nothing to do with the intent of the letter to the editor.

    • Bull shit, the letter to the editor is a juvenile response.
      It should be directed at the Gov’t and respective ministries.

    • Damian de Gannes FYI in the 70s and 80s we had large diary farms and we have the acreage to grow the raw materials needed for cereals