May 9, 2008
SVGFTO Exec. re-elected

Philemon Allen and his eight-member team have been re-elected unopposed to the leadership of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Fairtrade Organization. Their re-election took place at the conclusion of a successful 8th Annual General Assembly of the organization held at the Methodist Church Hall, Kingstown on Wednesday, April 30th, 2008.{{more}}

The Assembly was held in two parts, with an Official Opening addressed by a range of invited guests. Among them were WIBDECO Chief Executive Officer, Bernard Cornibert, Monika Berreshiem of the Fair-trade Labelling Organization (FLO) and WINFA Co-ordinator Renwick Rose. Greetings were delivered by fraternal representatives of the Fairtrade Organizations of Dominica (Michel Roberts) and St. Lucia (William Marius), as well as Cecil Ryan, Chairman of the local Banana Growers Association. The feature address was delivered by Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves to a packed Church Hall audience of farmers and invited guests.

The Business session of the organization was chaired by Philemon Allen, who presented the National Committee Report. That Report outlined the progress of the SVGFTO over the past year, highlighted its main activities and set out the major challenges before the membership over the upcoming period. Among major actions were the positive responses of the organization to the problems faced by farmers in respect of losses from the dreaded Moko disease, Leaf Spot infestation and storm damage. A major achievement over the period was the role of the organization in collaboration with Government and WINFA in the reconfiguration of the banana industry. Several Committee Reports were presented to the Assembly outlining progress in assistance to farmers through loans form the Revolving Fund and Health Plan benefits, whilst a comprehensive report, stimulating much debate, was given on the use of the Social Premium.

The re-elected President concluded his Report by emphasizing the organization’s thrust on providing greater service to farmers and on developing its capacity to provide leadership in the agricultural sector. He ended with a strong appeal for unity.

“Fairtrade has bought sustainability to our industry and created a turn around in our communities. There is an opportunity new for us to manage our own affairs.