Press Release:– Advocating, lobbying, and negotiating are mainstay activities of the St. Lucia Manufacturers Association. Since its formation in 2002, the SMA has tirelessly sought to amplify the collective voice of Saint Lucia’s local manufacturing sector. Seldom do stories of the group’s advocacy work make the evening news, but that’s not why they do it. The work is important to those they serve. But don’t just take their word for it – ask almost any local manufacturer.
The group’s most recent success, after 6 long years of lobbying, was the introduction of the deferred VAT system of raw material importation at the ports. This new legislation has benefitted all manufactures, but particularly smaller enterprises in the alleviation of cash flow pressures during import. The group also recently directed their focus on their micro agro-processor members, advocating their cause with the Ministry of Agriculture regarding an ongoing issue with bottling processes and quality standardizations.
Very few things in Saint Lucia are easy – but carving out a living as a local manufacturer in an import-fueled market like ours is no small feat. Being part of a community definitely helps, and this is where the St. Lucia Manufacturers Association comes in. More than just an industry group of professionals. They’re a family.
Last week it was all aboard The Freewinds for the SMA’s annual talent show, an evening where the island’s top manufacturing organizations shed their professional titles and shared in an evening of good-spirited fun and laughter.
The Freewinds event was the 2nd annual talent show held by the SMA and has quickly become a crowd favorite. Aside from the magical atmosphere created by the Freewinds’ amazing production team, which truthfully makes you feel more like you’re in the audience of the hit American talent show The Voice rather than on a cruise ship docked in Port Castries, the event was an excellent platform to showcase the creative talents of the individual employees working at SMA member organizations. In many ways, the evening wasn’t even about manufacturing. It was about the people whom work in manufacturing.
Of special highlight, guests were treated to an amazing rendition of Adele’s Skyfall, performed by Ms. Johanna Alexander. After her performance, Johanna shared a remarkable fact with her audience – she’s only 15 years old!
Mr. Lance Henry, a water and fuel technician at St. Lucia Distillers performed a Chairman’s Reserve-infused reggae song entitled Legendary Stages, a catchy ode to Saint Lucia’s flagship rum and one Mr. Henry hopes will be played on local radio stations.
The evening was also one full of surprises as St. Lucia’s poster boy for manufacturing, Mr. Ronald Ramjattan, and the ever-so elegant Mrs. Ramjattan joined the festivities. Adorn in Middle Eastern garb, the husband and wife duo waltzed the catwalk to the melodious Arabic maqams that filled the room. Multi-cultural or multi-talented, you choose!
Guests were even treated to a surprise performance by National Security Minister by day karaoke extraordinaire by night Hon. Hermangild Francis who performed a few special numbers for the crowd all in the name of good fun.