The West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association held its Annual General Meeting in St. Lucia, with a commitment to strengthen linkages with the vastly expanding tourism sector in the region.
The Chairman of WIRSPA says rum is the largest agricultural export of the English speaking Caribbean, contributing over 300 million dollars in taxes alone to the regional economy.
Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee, in pledging government’s support for a uniquely Caribbean product noted the vast potential of a region which attracts 40 million visitors annually.
Caribbean Trade Ministers have pledged support in making the Caribbean rum industry more competitive internationally. Regionally it battles the smuggling of counterfeit rums.
Margaret Monplaisir, Managing Director of St. Lucia Distillers says the AGM discussed issues relating to standards and Rules of Origin – noting that a Caribbean rum must be distilled and blended in the Caribbean.
The WIRSPA AGM was also concerned about a decline in the local consumption of authentically produced rums.
The WIRSPA members also addressed the impact of the harmful consumption of alcohol on Caribbean societies.
The West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association comprises rum producers from 15 Caribbean countries.