West Indies Rum Producers’ Association condemns alcohol abuse

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… Launches initiative to promote responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages 

Chairman of DDL and WIRSPA Komal Samaroo

The West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association (WIRSPA) has launched an initiative to promote responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages across the Caribbean.

The group on Friday strongly condemned the abuse of alcohol and a pledge was made to lend support to efforts that address these issues and are committed to doing so as an industry and in collaboration with other producers of alcoholic beverages.

WIRSPA acknowledged the impact of inappropriate consumption of alcoholic beverages by individuals and said “We believe, and current regulatory advice maintains, that responsible drinking remains a valued and enjoyable part of life in a modern society. Notwithstanding, we cannot ignore the negative impact on our societies caused by the excessive consumption of alcohol.”

As such, WIRSPA committed itself to a collaborative approach across the industry to achieve the objective. “We will seek to broaden the involvement of all producers, distributors and retailers of alcohol beverages so as to achieve the fullest impact from these commitments and we will engage stakeholders on these issues to ensure that our engagements are meaningful and credible,” the body said.

In doing so, Demerara Distilleries Limited (DDL) indicted its plans to engage Government and non-State stakeholders to determine how the industry can best contribute in practical ways, to the implementation of policies and actions to mitigate the impact of harmful consumption.

Chairman of WIRSPA and of DDL, Komal Samaroo said, “There is an urgent need for us to build a culture of responsibility in our communities. We are committed to providing leadership to build a strong coalition of producers, State agencies, and civil society advocates to work to achieve this transformation in the shortest possible time.”

He added that “while we as individual producers are active at the national level in supporting efforts to reduce harmful drinking, as a group we intend to intensify these efforts starting in 2018. In this regard we have established a task force to look at a range of issues including labelling, advertising and promotion, and online marketing, incorporating international best practices. We will also encourage and support actions to reduce driving under the influence of alcohol and drinking by underage and vulnerable persons.”

According to him, the organisation will seek to broaden the involvement of all producers, distributors and retailers of alcohol beverages to achieve a greater impact on communities. Samaroo noted that along with the Government other stakeholders will be engaged on the issue to ensure their objective is met.

Making reference to DDL and the local market specifically, the Chairman disclosed that “Demerara Distillers will be embarking on an initiative to resuscitate the local alcoholic beverages association. “We will need to put aside our competitive marketing interests,” he said, “and work together in pursuit of the greater good for Guyana.”

The West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association is one of the oldest Private Sector trade associations in the Caribbean. It represents rum producers in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Haiti, Dominica, The Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

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