EDITORIAL: Good news for Foursquare, local economy
The news that an agreement has been reached between Foursquare Rum Distillery and Moet Hennessy of France to distil, blend and bottle the ten Cane brands of rum, is good news for this country.
Foursquare was once known as the site of a thriving sugar factory but economic stringency caused the demise of several sugar factories, including, of course, Foursquare. Now it seems that Sir David Seale and his family have hit upon a formula that enables a former factory to recover some of its glory, wearing, as it were, new clothes.
It required foresight, planning and hard work to put together the enterprise now known as the Foursquare Distillery which is one of the most modern and efficient operations of its kind to be found anywhere on the planet.
As Sir David himself said, this deal is recognition that the distillery is now being recognized throughout the world as a world-class facility. What is more, word of mouth advertising had led to an increase of the export of Foursquare brands to Europe and the United States, and the company also entered the Australian market last year.
The Foursquare deal is just the shot in the arm the economy needs; and it suggests that some new ways can be found to utilize at least some of the spaces formerly used by King Sugar – to earn foreign exchange and to provide jobs.
Minister of Industry and International Business Donville Inniss was quick to recognize the good news factor, but significantly he linked the development to current thinking. He remarked that “in a time when one may speak of a depressed state of manufacturing and all the gloom it is good to know that there are opportunities like this that abound”. We share the minister’s joy!
We applaud Sir David and his group on cutting this new path through the harsh and competitive reality of modern business and in the process earning some valuable foreign exchange; generating increases in jobs and related economic activity, in a deal worth some $100 million dollars over the next five years.
We are absolutely sure that this kind of development is what the country has to aim at. We may not be able to produce agricultural products in large quantities, taking advantage of the large-scale production, as we do not have the land mass or the efficient machinery required.
Neither can our Government afford to subsidize the farmers as is done elsewhere. But, as the minister agreed, we have a historical niche and edge in the production of rum, and our products have a certain cachet in the international luxury markets where it matters.
The economic future of this country will depend to a large extent on our collective capacity to develop niche markets of this kind, where we can develop a competitive edge and provide our people with lucrative employment and help to build our country.
Given the importance of this kind of development to our national well-being, we urge all local entrepreneurs to find their own niche, for many other industries respond well to the effort of personal genius, and so long as one protects one’s intellectual property, personal gain is also national gain.
We are happy to note that the minister is committed to enrolling Government’s assistance in these export-led ventures, and we hope that the success of the Foursquare Distillery will inspire other ventures.