Bajan brand under threat, warns McKay
Executive Director of the Barbados Manufacturers Association (BMA) Bobbi McKay is promising to weed out a “renegade practice” which she says is re-emerging in the manufacturing sector.
Addressing the official launch of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Exhibition (BMEX) at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre last night, McKay said she had received a long WhatsApp message from a local manafacturer about four days ago, informing her that one of his competitors was importing products duty free and changing the labels on them to say “Made in Barbados”.
The BMA executive did not name either companies, but said she had already apprised Minister of Industry and Commerce Donville Inniss of the development.
“We are going to find a way to police it and we will find a way to stomp that out,” she vowed, explaining that “beyond the integrity issues that this raises, it presents other challenges and makes the playing field very uneven.
“Our authentic Barbadian manufacturers are then forced to compete with this and we all know that this is a major disadvantage. These are some of the things we face every single day that we will continue to push on and eradicate such injustices and practices as they arise,” she added.
Back in 2014, Managing Director of River Bay Trading Ian Pickup had raised similar concerns about illegal imports, false labeling and false invoicing. He had also complained about cheap imports that were flooding the market.
At the time, Inniss had promised a thorough investigation into the matter. And in 2015, he gave the assurance that all complaints that were made were investigated.