Front Page
July 22, 2022
Rainforest a perfect example of CARICOM in action – Gonsalves

FOR PRIME MINISTER Dr Ralph Gonsalves, the opening of the Rainforest Seafood SVG facility at Calliaqua is a perfect example of “CARICOM in action”, specifically as it relates to economic integration.

The Rainforest Seafood SVG processing facility, which is also referred to as “Big Blue” in Calliaqua was officially opened on Friday, July 15 with a ceremony and tour of the compound.

The operations, which are owned by Jamaican-based company, Rainforest Caribbean, sits on approximately 25,000 sq.ft and is estimated to have cost EC$10 million.

It also employs no fewer than 100 Vincentians.

Gonsalves, who delivered the keynote address at last Friday’s event, noted that CARICOM is based on four fundamental pillars: economic integration, functional cooperation in areas such as health and education, coordination of foreign policy and coordination of security. “I want to talk really as to how this fits in with economic integration. In order for economic integration to work, we have to make sure that the strengths and weaknesses of each of the respective units or countries, that those strengths and weaknesses are dissolved into the integrated whole, so that at the end of the day, the whole is more than the summation of the individual parts,” the prime minister said.

“And that is what we are having here. We got the fish, we got the conch, we got the lobster, we got the sea cucumber; but we need the capital, we need the technology, we need the marketing and we need the skill sets which we do not ourselves as yet possess, to bring together, to have this as a dimension, an aspect of the fishing industry, so that we can all do better than we did before.”

Prior to the establishment of a local Rainforest operation, Gonsalves noted that fishermen would not have the additional avenue to sell their products.

With the company’s introduction, he anticipates a greater demand for fish and seafood products, which in turn means that fisherfolk will earn more for their product.

Gonsalves also added that those employed by the processing facility would not have otherwise been employed.

“The technology has come, the marketing is there and the skill sets which were not available here, are brought and we have something from which all of us will benefit,” he said.

‘Big Blue’ has reportedly been operating for the past four months, in which time the prime minister said “great possibilities” have already been seen.

Speaking on the topic of the Jamaican-based company seeing the potential of making money in St Vincent, Gonsalves said “why you think they come?”

“You think they are philanthropists? You think they went to some monastery and took the vow of poverty, that they come ya come spend all the time, ride boat with Sabby (Saboto Caesar, the minister of Agriculture), say the our father prayer on sea water down in the Southern Grenadines; they’re here to make a return on their investment and we must not begrudge them that,” he said.

Gonsalves added that fisherfolk will similarly benefit financially, and the community through the varying spinoff effects, “so we have a win-win for everybody and from what I observed, I don’t see anybody exploiting anybody…” “We all have to be very mature and understanding of these things and be fair and reasonable with one another. Once we do that, this thing is going to prosper,” he said.

Last Friday’s opening ceremony also featured addresses from several key individuals including Brian Jardim, the CEO of Rainforest Caribbean; Saboto Caesar, minister of Agriculture in St Vincent and the Grenadines; Camillo Gonsalves, finance minister and area representative for East St George, where the facility is located; and Pearnel Charles Jr, minister of Agriculture and Fisheries in Jamaica.