It’s only the second edition but the St. Lucia Manufacturers Association Awards Dinner is quickly making a name for itself as a must on the social calendar. The event, which is held every two years, recognizes excellence across several areas in the manufacturing sector. Bucking the trend of starting on ‘Lucian’ time, the festivities got underway promptly and master of ceremonies for the evening, Russell Lake, set a lighthearted tone straight out of the gate with his witty banter and comical observations.
In her opening remarks, outgoing president of the association, Paula Calderon, highlighted the lofty achievements of the companies in attendance. She also directed some tongue-in-cheek jabs at the government, which Prime Minister Kenny Anthony good-naturedly accepted.
The feature address was presented by Brian Pengelley, president of the Jamaica Manufacturers Association, who had been on hand that weekend to participate in talks on the direction of manufacturing in the region. Pengelley chose to focus on the importance of regional integration and the challenges being faced.
“Regional integration has been left in discord despite the goals of Caricom to promote the region’s economic and social development, and encourage policy initiatives and programs to the legal, administrative and economic framework for members.”
He pointed out the myriad of opportunities to establish linkages with other sectors across borders including tourism, agriculture, creative industries, energy and mining. One of the biggest partnership possibility, generally overlooked, involves none other than the powers that be in any country.
“There are also opportunities to secure contracts. Understanding the government procurement process across holders is paramount for regional manufacturers to supply governments, as they are one of the largest procurers of goods and services. Small countries often miss out on this because they do not know how to bid and therefore multinationals end up getting those jobs.”
The post-address dinner kept the theme of supporting our very own manufacturers going by incorporating fresh produce and meats, as well as drinks, from local suppliers. Even the madras-infused decor was the vision of Saint Lucian designer Shermark Leon and his team.
With palates sufficiently satisfied, it was time to hand out the first award of the evening: Product and Customer Service Quality. There were three divisions within each category; Gold, Platinum and Diamond, which assured nominees of not going home empty handed. Our very own Star Publishing Company picked up a prize in the gold category, which Mae Wayne accepted while receiving some playful ribbing from Lake for her modeling background. Other gold awardees were Paradise Water, Poyotte’s Joinery Incorporated and TopStone Fabrication Limited.
Platinum winners included DuBoulay’s Bottling Company Limited, Sunfresh Limited, and Natmed Limited. The Diamond recipients were Winera, Harris Paints St Lucia Limited, Baron Foods and Caribbean Awning Production Company Limited.
In the Human Resource Category, Harris Paints, Caribbean Awning, St Lucia Distillers and Windward and Leeward Brewery Limited were voted Diamond standard. DuBoulays walked away with Platinum, joined by Winera, Paradise Water and Baron Foods. Gold went to Sunfresh and Natmed.
Diamond in the Implementation of Standards and Best Practices went to Paradise Water, Winera, Harris Paints, Caribbean Awnings, Baron Foods, and DuBoulay’s Bottling Company. Platinum: Sunfresh and Natmed. Gold: Poyotte’s Joinery and TopStone Fabrication.
Social Responsibility Awardees included: Diamond winners DuBoulay’s Bottling, Baron Foods, St Lucia Distillers, Harris Paints, and Windward and Leeward Brewery; Platinum went to Paradise Water and Caribbean Awning with Winera taking Gold.
There were nine awards handed out for Leadership. Diamond was captured by DuBoulay’s Bottling, Baron Foods, Caribbean Awning, St Lucia Distillers, Harris Paints, Paradise Water and Windward and Leeward Brewery. Plat-inum was awarded to Winera and Gold to Natmed.
A new addition was the ECO Manufacturing Award which encourages companies to preserve the environment through their business practices. First place went to Harris Paints, followed by DuBoulay’s Bottling in second and Caribbean Awning in third.
The Minister’s Award for Innovation was presented to DuBoulay’s Bottling by Minister of Commerce, Emma Hippolyte, who commended the nominees for maintaining their forward-thinking standards.
In honour of International Women’s Day, Calderon presented plaques of appreciation to noted businesswomen in the Saint Lucian Community who have showed continued dedication to their craft. The recipients were Margaret Monplaisir, Marguerite Desir, Mae Wayne, Mkabi Walcott, Renee DeMyers, Paula James, Pauline Gomez, and Vanessa Lionel. But the ladies flipped the script on Calderon as Paula James presented
her with an award for
her own commitment to business.
The final award of the night was presented by the prime minister for Presentation of Excellence. Harris Paints emerged victorious, despite stiff competition from several other high ranking companies.
The jubilant team clamoured onto the stage as the curtain fell on another successful production by the St Lucia Manufacturers Association.