Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has denied that the United Kingdom has suspended banana exports from the country, as he urged farmers not to panic, while underlining the need for improving quality.
This follows reports in the local media that quoted information from Communication Consultant in the Office of the Prime Minister Elson Crick and Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace. Crick is said to have stated that export of Vincentian bananas to the UK had been put on hold because of poor quality of the fruit. Eustace said the suspension would be reviewed next year.
However, the Vincentian prime minister said the reports were not true, and that the communication consultant said he was misinterpreted. “The banana boat will be coming and they will be receiving bananas and they accepted the bananas on a firm contractual basis, not consignment,” the Prime Minister said. “But we have to lift our quality and on an on-going basis, we will review this as the weeks go on to see how we are getting on with the quality, how we are improving, what further things the government needs to do, what further things Winfresh needs to do, what further things farmers need to do and so on and so forth.”
Chief Executive of Winfresh Bernard Cornibert has also assured the prime minister that his company will continue to receive bananas next week.
“So, I just want to put people’s mind at rest, just calm everybody. There are some people apparently, when there’s a difficulty or challenge they just want bad news for St. Vincent and be irresponsible. They must stop that,” Gonsalves stated.