(WIRSPA Secretariat, Bridgetown, Barbados) – Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. The Right Hon. Keith Mitchell has lauded the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of the West Indies Open Campus and the regional rum industry grouping – the West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA).
Speaking last week during the signing of the MOU in Grenada, the Prime Minister said the initiative, which will see as its first task the development of an online training initiative for the industry, was a great example of the university applying itself to the needs of the productive sector, one in which the Caribbean possessed a wealth of expertise and heritage.
The MOU was signed during a reception to welcome members of the industry to Grenada for WIRSPA’s annual technical meeting, which was held from 9-11th July 2019. The meeting saw over 35 persons from many of the grouping’s large and small distilleries discussing key issues including responsible drinking, production and quality standards, product labelling, environmental management and raw material supplies.
The Prime Minister also commended recent efforts on the part of the industry to intensify its support for tackling problem drinking and in particular, the recent announcement to upgrade product labelling in domestic CARICOM markets and its self-regulation code.
Commenting on the signature of the MOU, Professor Julie Meeks Gardner, Acting Principal of the UWI Open Campus, said “The UWI Open Campus is delighted to forge an alliance with The West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association that is mutually beneficial to both regional entities. As part of the leading University in the Caribbean, the UWI Open Campus is well placed to contribute to building the knowledge base in the rum and spirits industry, which has been a vital component of the region’s cultural and economic landscape for centuries.”
According to Chairman of WIRSPA and head of the Guyana conglomerate, Demerara Distillers, Komal Samaroo “the MOU will provide a framework for cooperation between the regional rum industry and the University of the West Indies. Our first planned collaboration is expected to be an online certification offering in rum and spirits production which would be offered to our members and more widely internationally, in several languages.” He added, “this is a unique offering in education and training, coming as it does from the home of rum, the Caribbean.”
Chairman of Grenada Distillers, Leroy Neckles, speaking on behalf of the local rum industry welcomed the grouping to Grenada, “we in Grenada are proud to host our first meeting of regional rum producers. Grenada has a tremendous rum and sugarcane heritage which is second to none. We hope to share this unique history with our colleagues from the rest of the Caribbean”.
The West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA) is one of the oldest private sector trade associations in the Caribbean. It represents rum producers in Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Haiti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago.
Authentic Caribbean Rums, the products produced by the membership of WIRSPA, represent a unique and distinct sector within the drinks industry, supported by common quality standards and rules. The Authentic Caribbean Rum (ACR) Marque was developed as a symbol of authenticity, provenance and quality for rums within the WIRSPA family.
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About The UWI
For the past 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and four campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, and an Open Campus.
As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Asia, and Africa such as the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development, the UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies and the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ).
The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport.
As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. Times Higher Education has ranked The UWI among the top 1,258 universities in world for 2019, and the 40 best universities in its Latin America Rankings for 2018 and was the only Caribbean-based University to make the prestigious lists. For more, visit www.uwi.edu.
The correct name of the university is The University of the West Indies (inclusive of “The”).