Boycott them!

Paul angry over importation of 900 cases of coconut water

Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) James Paul is fuming over a business entity’s importation of 900 cases of coconut water from Guyana, and he is appealing to Barbadians to boycott the imported drink.

In an interview with Barbados TODAY this afternoon, Paul lambasted the business, saying its action was “undermining the dwindling foreign exchange reserves as well as sabotaging employment within a viable sector.

“I understand that they [cases of coconut water] are here but they are not on the shelves as yet and I am hoping that they do not go on the shelves. I am appealing to Barbadians that any such coconut water they see on the shelves that they desist from buying it. Certainly for something that we should be doing here for ourselves, we should not allow any business to undermine persons from making a living from it. We should not be rewarding this reckless type of activity,” the livid BAS boss said.

Local retailers today assured that this coconut water is not the one imported from Guyana as BAS CEO James Paul (inset) called for a boycott of the imported product.

While its economic contribution to the economy is not immediately clear, the coconut water business is a thriving one here, with vendors in open lorries and vans lining the country’s highways and roadways, never short of willing buyers.

In fact, the booming highway coconut water trade is so successful that it is taking a toll on the dried coconut business, leaving bakeries to consider importing dry nuts.   

One farmer recently told Barbados TODAY that the demand for green coconuts was so high that the chances of finding a dry coconut on his one-acre plantation in St Philip “are about the same as finding gold”.

“I might get up a Friday and tag the mature bunches which I want to sell to the vendors that week and the ones I want to hold back for another couple of weeks so that they could get jelly. [However] the buyers would come Saturday morning and buy the bunches that I want to sell and by noon they are back begging me to sell the ones I was holding back,” Omar Pilgrim said last month.

The fact that the product is so readily available here makes the decision by the business to import even more puzzling to Paul.

The BAS head did not reveal the name of the business; therefore Barbados TODAY could neither independently verify his claim nor seek a comment from the business.

However, in his interview last month, Pilgrim had indicated that it was proving more cost effective to sell his coconuts to street vendors than to supermarkets, an indication that the supermarkets were likely finding it difficult to source the local water.

This notwithstanding, Paul sees the importation as a damning indictment on the private sector, which he accused of irresponsibly undermining the country’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves and throwing Barbadians on the bread line.

“This country is losing foreign exchange at a rapid rate as a result of the private sector behaviour. We have yet another private sector company who is not only seeking to undermine the foreign exchange reserves in this country but also threatens to put thousands of Barbadians who make a living from the sale of coconut water out of business. All those young men you see on the highway, the same person who is importing this coconut water will not seek to employ them,” he complained.

The Member of Parliament for St Michael West Central considered the action of the importer as a textbook example of why Government needed to implement stricter foreign exchange controls. He further argued that despite the pleadings of Government to the private sector to do their part to stem of the haemorrhaging of foreign exchange, it was clear that self-regulation did not work.

“These same people who are bringing in the coconut water are making thousands of dollars in profit, they are not taking the profit that they make and investing it back into the agricultural sector in order to help expand coconut water production in this country. Instead they are further undermining the country’s capacity to earn foreign exchange by importing things we are growing here.

“I really think that it is time that the Government must consider foreign exchange controls in respect of business that behave in this manner. We cannot continue to think that the current controls are working or that we can expect any responsible behaviour from members of the private sector in terms of helping this country to stem the foreign exchange loss,” Paul contended.

54 Responses to Boycott them!

  1. Jai Khan
    Jai Khan February 7, 2017 at 12:44 am

    Boycott who???
    Should we drive from store to store to find the GT coconut water? Put up or shut up Paul. Don’t half talk big people…name them

  2. Ashanda Coward
    Ashanda Coward February 7, 2017 at 12:51 am

    Samething I said yesterday about so much importations, why cant they have bottle water here sold in the supermarkets? So much money going out and more imports coming in. Nuff of these bajans dont support they own anyways, so the importation bill would continue to be high.

    • Mary Amos
      Mary Amos February 7, 2017 at 7:34 am

      They do sell bottled Coconut water at Massy.

    • Ashanda Coward
      Ashanda Coward February 7, 2017 at 7:38 am

      I know this, but it shouldnt even be imported. I know coconut water retails at some of these places.

  3. Joel C. Payne
    Joel C. Payne February 7, 2017 at 1:39 am

    LOL That’s not just Guyana. That’s how the entire global financial structure is made up. America got wunna in a vice grip long time.

  4. Ronnie Warren
    Ronnie Warren February 7, 2017 at 3:00 am

    I have been told that most of the coconuts sold are imported and if this is true then we cannot produce to meet demand.

  5. Hal Austin February 7, 2017 at 3:02 am

    We must name and shame. If it is a foreign-owned supermarket, then boycott all their products. They must show sensitivity to local consumers.
    It is these disgraceful policies that lead to the balance of payments deficit.

    • hcalndre February 7, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      @Hal Austin, it`s a Caricom thing, so hold your tongue. On a talk show this morning this person was ranting and raving about the Guyanese sending money to their country from barbados and surprisingly the host corrected her on many of her issues. I did not hear said anything about the thousands of dollars that is sent to Barbados by this same money transfer company.

  6. Khati D
    Khati D'Souza February 7, 2017 at 3:45 am

    Mr.Paul you really need something to talk bout cutting de throats of ya caribbean brother (if such took place) is easier than going after the hotel and supermarkets who imports water and dry coconut powder from foreign and for decades now! Then again you are a notable person to get away from firestorm! I laugh at that EU agreement signed. I know we living on a lil rock but like sum ah wunna lives under the rock… like hello? Globalization…free market. Wunna open the can of worm so why squeal now? Last time i check wif my guyanese friends, Guyana not really accepting Barbados $. Aint that a shame!?!

  7. Ricardo Bascombe
    Ricardo Bascombe February 7, 2017 at 4:07 am

    Where do they get the import licience from the same government

  8. Fuji Kidd
    Fuji Kidd February 7, 2017 at 5:15 am

    Personally I won’t buy coconut water off the shelf in a supermarket. I like to see my coconuts cut and drained from the man on the highway. But it’s like conkie leaves, if someone is going to buy it, why not sell it? If Bajans tastes will let the supermarket owners know if to import another 900 cases. And I completely agree with the comment that govt “allows” it because a hard decision needs to be taken when it comes to imports to force us to produce for ourselves. We just opening the door and buying from any and everybody. But I’m ignorant as to what agreements we have and with whom so that statement just up in the air.

    • Mary Amos
      Mary Amos February 7, 2017 at 7:36 am

      I buy Coconut water from Massy but it is not imported

    • harry turnover February 7, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      I don’t even buy bottled coconut water from the vendors here. I take a big Pet Bottle and tell the man to fill it up an I drink all of it in less than 24 hrs.Any time past that I find that it loses its taste.
      Imported coconut water MUST have preservatives to preserved that taste and I en buying NONE.

  9. Jennifer February 7, 2017 at 5:30 am

    @Hal- agreed. This non naming game is also part of the COVERT operations against the same people. Not naming is also a part of cooning and not wanting to mash toes.

    “the same person who is importing this coconut water will not seek to employ them,” he complained.”

    Look at this level of thinking, You have men gainfully employing themselves so why would you want to bring them under the hand of the task master???? We really need to wake up. And forget about the importation bill cause barbados do not produce much. Focus mainly on tourist.

  10. Lisa Moore
    Lisa Moore February 7, 2017 at 6:06 am

    I agree wholeheartedly Mr. James Paul

  11. Ann Batey
    Ann Batey February 7, 2017 at 6:43 am

    Does Barbados not export to other islands? Just asking.

  12. Scott February 7, 2017 at 6:43 am

    It’s all supply and demand. If the market will bear the added water then it should be fine. As long as the price does not under in the local vendors then it should be allowed.

  13. Colleen Morris
    Colleen Morris February 7, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Not buying any we have coconut trees here.

    • hcalndre February 7, 2017 at 10:47 pm

      Barbados has very little of anything to export, I saw the coconut water at a super market and the package looks very good to me and it is more convenient to buy at the super market. I heard that the bakeries can`t get the dry coconuts so they will be importing them too.

  14. Ras Small
    Ras Small February 7, 2017 at 6:55 am

    Da is a reason why da lef dem hey, becuz Barbadians gullible and programmable.
    Not Barbadians.

  15. Akeeba Holder
    Akeeba Holder February 7, 2017 at 7:00 am

    Wait what matter of crap is he really saying? If we don’t boycott the hundreds of Products from Trinidad why should we boycott this product? Look I going out today self and buy this. These so called MP’s need to watch what they say.

  16. Bobby Gilkes
    Bobby Gilkes February 7, 2017 at 7:19 am

    I really dont know why he freaking out over the coconut water i remember when them had it in a can coming all the way from thailand ……

  17. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn February 7, 2017 at 7:22 am

    Blame the minister who responsible for that Minestry .Some one has to give permission.

  18. Ziggy Blessed
    Ziggy Blessed February 7, 2017 at 7:27 am

    i will be doing just that….

  19. Sylvie February 7, 2017 at 7:29 am

    It makes no sense to comment Mr.Paul when you as Chief Executive Officer of the BAS would have prior knowledge of the importation of the 900 cases of coconut water and the name of the person or persons who we’re granted the licence to import.This is an injustice to our hard working coconut vendors.

  20. Davie Etwaroo
    Davie Etwaroo February 7, 2017 at 7:34 am

    As long it come from Guyana, them don’t want it. I know where to buy now thanks

  21. Alana B February 7, 2017 at 7:41 am

    Imbalance of trade has always been of concern to me and many others. Look at the shelves in Barbados and compare them to the shelves in Trinidad. I go into supermarkets in Trinidad and can hardly find Bajan products. Tiger malt, Banks Beer, Pine Hill Milk (2% and reconstituted in the main), Pin Hill Juices. No BICO Ice cream, no Deputy, no Flavoured milk, no Plus….the list goes on. Now take a look at the shelves in Barbados. It is as if most of the supermarket aisles are filled with products from that country. Who are the ones that are suppose to address our trade relationships? We need to get serious. The conversations must be begin. The imbalances must be addressed. Government need to address the issue. We need to address the issue. Let us buy local and support each other.

    • Guyanese February 7, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      Have you checked out the shelves in Guyana? Trinidad dominates the CARICOM market but Barbados most likely has a trade surplus with Guyana.

    • J. Payne February 7, 2017 at 7:38 pm

      Imagine Cheffette got outlets all over Barbados and not one outside the country to bubble the foreign exchange a little bit.

  22. Dorry Pi
    Dorry Pi February 7, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Looks like Cost U Less. Pic must’ve been taken yesterday.

    • Alew February 7, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      Wait… Chris ain’t got a share in Cost U Less?

  23. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner February 7, 2017 at 7:54 am

    This is how things have been operating in Barbados for many a years,Bajans don’t support they own or maybe enough coconuts not been produce locally,hope that can be clarify.By the way who the public gine boycott since no name was given guess it’s a riddle.

  24. Brett Blades
    Brett Blades February 7, 2017 at 7:57 am

    I have an issue where we speak of protecting jobs of coconut vendors who add nothing to the public purse in terms of paying income tax or NIS. Instead they use all the social and public services like the schools, landfill and hospital etc. and contribute nothing. Only tax at the counter which is VAT which ironically is just my money trading hands because I, a tax payer, would have spent it anyhow. Why not put my money in the supermarket where the workers pay taxes and contribute to the public purse? we need to get these informal industries to pay taxes and stop burdening the country and having the most demands while asking me to pay more taxes before you ask me to boycott a business that contributing fully to holding up the Barbados economy.

  25. Anthony S Welch
    Anthony S Welch February 7, 2017 at 7:58 am

    I believe the request is lop sided. Do these local vendors not contribute to the large informal economy? They may pay VAT on the bottles but what about Income Tax? I am certain the importer pays taxes on their net income (even if under reported with the help of the accounting profession). Stop being one-sided and view the whole picture.

  26. Richard Johnston February 7, 2017 at 8:01 am

    It’s cheap to import goods because the currency is overvalued.

  27. VoiceOfReason February 7, 2017 at 8:09 am

    We need to buy more local products to stop the bleeding of foreign exchange. It is time for aggressive importation regulation for given period of time. This will also help the small man who can’t compete with imports

  28. Burchmore Simon February 7, 2017 at 8:45 am

    I am a Guyanese living in Guyana and guess what All Pine Hill products are my top favorites …..Hello! and you know what I don’t travel to My Sister Island Barbados to buy them. I go to a super market up the street.

  29. Kevin February 7, 2017 at 9:46 am

    I totally agree with Mr Paul. I myself dont buy bottle water from the supermarket. I prefer to see if drained fresh out the coconut.

  30. F.A.Rudder February 7, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Alana B you are on point!

  31. jrsmith February 7, 2017 at 11:23 am

    We are seeing the active arm of corruption in barbados , when and how this product arrived in barbados ,lets see the paper work. lets see the import duty which was paid if any was paid…
    Barbados is corrupt right across the board from top to bottom..
    Remember the chicken wings and the issue of importing dirty water…

    • Guyanese February 7, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Products within CARICOM are duty-free. And Barbados enjoys this on all products heading to Guyana.

  32. Legin February 7, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    So, you asking that the rest of us in CARICOM boycott all Bajan goods coming in to our countries? This sounds like total hypocrisy to me and Mr Paul, who knows how CARICOM is supposed to work, is behaving irresponsibly. Shame !!

  33. L King February 7, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    @Alana B well said you’ll make an excellent spoke person.

    The best way is to vote with your hand and not purchase them as the importer can’t force your hand to buy and Caricom can’t say jack you.

  34. curtis February 7, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Who is there to monitor the pouring of coconut water. No one knows what is poured into the jars, other ingredients can be added. Safety has to be the No. 1 priority set in place, government regulations must be implemented and applied. Take no risk.

  35. Guyanese February 7, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Do Bajan’s know how many Bajan products are on the shelves in Guyana? Do they know how it compares with Guyanese products on Bajan shelves?

    No? Then be careful with what you call for because a boycott in Guyana would be far more devastating than a boycott in Barbados. Just take the Pinehill line and Barbados will feel it.

  36. The Wiz February 7, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Gov’t needs to ensure that the imported stuff is sold at a higher price. Can’t legislate against stupidity,so for a variety of reasons there will always be some willing to buy rubbish at a higher price.

  37. Bill February 7, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    I am very concerned about the hygienic practices of those people who sell coconuts along the streets of Barbados. They dump the coconuts on the ground despite the conditions! It could be wet or dry. These practices remind me of the treatment of flying fish by some people who sold fish by the roadside in front of the market during the 1960s. The health authority have changed that and the time has come for regulations be introduced to make the coconut vendors conform to decent hygienic practices – wash the coconuts with bleach, place them on racks and present themselves as one would expect from a person dealing with food

  38. Alex Alleyne February 7, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    It’s sad that he is calling for a “boycott” of items coming for GUYANA a CARICOM country while GARBAGE flow into our sweet BIM from elsewhere. I think he should be looking at what BIM can EXPORT to GUYANA and not just “selling off the Black Belly Sheep”.

  39. Loretta Griffith February 7, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    Why should Guyana accept Barbados dollars when we have persons outside the taxi stand in Lower Broad Street openly purchasing US dollars as if there is som Cambio being operated?
    If I have witnessed this on more than one occasion, are you telling me the authorities have not heard about it and refused to curtail it? Let’s get serious about the threat to our dollar and stop these persons from helping to destroy our economy.
    Enough said!

  40. jus me February 8, 2017 at 2:15 am

    @ Brett Blades
    Brett I think you need to go a few steps further back.
    Firstly, curb the sheer greed and waste of Elected politicians, who treat the Countries cash as their own and apparently endless.

    If they checked these robbers of our country ,MAYBE we would not be Taxed up to the eyeballs as we are now.

    AS it stands now, it appears to be universally accepted ,that we ,are just born to support the Tax system, IE the Politicians.

  41. jus me February 8, 2017 at 2:21 am


    If its a Caricom product there are NO DUTIES, as for VAT,I do not know if it is a product that falls under a VAT charge, but I doubt it does.
    But a quick call to Customs would sort that.

  42. jus me February 8, 2017 at 2:31 am

    @Alex Alleyne,

    Please get real.

    Garbage from where?

    The lowest grade products come from CARICOM, you ever seen how the Chow Mien noodles are produced in Guyana.
    I got more respect for my health, never use them.

    You ever BEEN in GUYANA, seen the filth, the stinking dykes full of garbage, mosquitos that can juk yuh even thro denim jeans.

    We had a lot we could export to Guyana, LOTSA GUYANESE, and we EXPORTED them.
    Be thankful.

  43. A.Woodroffe February 8, 2017 at 8:55 am

    One of these good days, we will wake up and understand the need for full political and economic integration of our region. We currently have Caricom as the only means of promoting economic unity. Thus, bringing coconut water from Guyana should be seen as no different from obtaining the beverage from St. Joseph. Until we see our region as a single unit, we remain doomed to continued failure. Please do not wrestle with BICO in this regard.The former Federation of the West Indies had as its motto, “United we stand, divided we fall! To stand or to fall – its our choice!

  44. Bajan boy February 8, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Mary Amos who do you think imported the water. Bajans have a government that allows all of their financiers to do as they please. The Trinidadians enjoy that autonomy and know how to exploit it..


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