LETTER: Support Local

9

Dear Editor,

 

We live in interesting and strange, changing times. In all my 65 years of life in Antigua I have never seen one business appeal to the public not to support another business.

Let the paint people fight it out and the public will benefit.

 

I saw the flyer on your site and I was surprised. I await the day when I will see a business in this country asking the public to comment on their prices and customer service.

 

Now to the paint controversy. I remember the days when Trinidad blocked our manufactured fans, freezers and fridges and eventually closed down factories like Antigua Appliances which used to be located on Old Parham Road, opposite Hadeed Motors. And about 75 Antiguans lost their jobs.

 

Minister Chet Greene has been very clear on the government’s desire to support local manufacturing. Support local. Plus under Caricom and the OECS, certain industries are protected. What is wrong if we give a local paint manufacturer protection for a few years to establish themselves? It is money being spent locally in the investment and locals being employed.

 

Leewind Paints struggled for years. I believe they were never properly set up either financially or with the technological resources. Harris Paints has proven their mettle in Dominica and in Barbados.

 

I support the move to give our own factory a chance to survive and grow and at the same time keeping the money at home.

 

I was also surprised at the personal attacks against Pain Plus which sells Harris Paints. Unlike all the others, Paint Plus only sells paint. They sell nothing else and do not compete with the thousands of other products sold by hardware stores like North Coast Hardware.

Live and let live.

 

Signed,

Reds’Buy Local’ Campbell

Seatons

Antigua

 

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9 COMMENTS

  1. When we come to Antigua yearly.We eat at Beachlimerz Restaurant at Fort James every day.There food is delectable.However,the service is above all else in Antigua.I stand by that.I would always support that Establishment,its owners and staff.

  2. “Establish themselves?” Harris paints is as they call themselves the #1 paint brand throughout the Caribbean, are u joking me. They are not “local.” They are a huge paint company that is throughout the Caribbean so please don’t come with any silly talk about give them a chance to establish themselves. Also, why are you only calling out North Coast hardware, maybe because they give Paint Plus too much competition and they can’t take it so they have to create a monopoly to try and take them down and cut out all competition. I really hope that every paint store in Antigua will fight hard to hard these ridiculous taxes placed on all other paints removed, I will give them my support 100%

  3. Colour express, VEG, Antigua Plumbing, DEWS, Chaia Hardware, H&G, Kennedy’s and all the other Hardare and Paint shops in Antigua & Barbuda are LOCAL. Most of them are Family businesses that span generations and are Truly LOCAL. The Harris Group is a very LARGE paint conglomerate (many companies) that owns many other companies and has factories in 5 Caribbean islands.
    Are they local now they bought a building in Antigua? If YES then KFC is local, Sandles is Local etc.. Wait.. they are all Headquartered in other parts of the world so how could they be local?
    Maybe we need to do a search on what local business means.
    Was it right for Trinidad to Block out industries? Your answers seems to be no.. So why would it be ok for Our government to do this now?
    know where did any of the articles call out negative about Paint Plus. As far as I am concerned they are a local paint retailer. They just happen to sell exclusively Harris Paints.

    1) What we have issue with is the fact that the Government has GIVEN a foreign based company a 50% welfare check against local competition.
    2) AS Claimed by the CEO of Harris they have the sole right to produce in Antigua (maybe he is confused about his “own statement”)
    3) Government is putting one group of LOCAL companies at a disadvantaged position by giving such heavy handed taxes that it will make it virtually impossible for some of the smaller paint retailers to survive.

    North Coast has taken this position because we feel Antigua has always been a place of Fair competition and a leader in trade in the Caribbean. This policy affects nearly every hardware and paint store in our twin island paradise. It affects the local owners (all live in antigua) , all the employees , their families and the number one reason we are in business is to support the consuming public who purchase from LOCAL shops. Monopolies raise prices, stifle competition and create wealth for a select few individuals.
    As you rightly stated North Coast Hardware sells many other items so my wife and I could have just stayed quite , raised our eyebrows and watched our fellow business competitors drown in this fifty percent tariff sea; But my wife who doesn’t know how to backdown from injustice said we have to do what’s right even if that means standing up for our LOCAL Competition.

    Jason & Nicole Holowchak
    North Coast Hardware

    • Mr Holowchak kudos in your biz accomplishments, will tell you I tend to frequent your store (at least 3 times a week). Its almost like a second home (there for the quality items you sell). Once they are controls (regulations) in place to deal with the price issue, will this be acceptable for you? Fact is what has happened with the cost of cement disproves you notion because the monopoly in place before actually kept prices low. Also due to your focus on the 50% am i correct in surmising that you sell mostly American paints? You have heard the US prez make clear he is supporting US industries(America for American’s), why are you then supporting US paint companies at the detriment of our local and regional paint manufacturers? Will tell you that for me once the government ensures there is price control on the local paint, t and the quality remains at a good standard, I have no issue with this move.

  4. You know Antigua is a unique place. A foreigner can come here setup a business and then criticize my government while we are the ones supporting his business. I wonder if I go to Canada I can so easily setup business get the support of Canadians and then turn around and criticize Trudeau for his trade policies against my business. I think not. A government trade policies are designed for the betterment of the local economy and not any individual in particular. These last four years under Donald Trump we have witness that more than ever before. He ripped up trade deals with NAFTA and with China and also Europe. In fact he threatens all that take advantage of the USA to put high tariffs of their goods. Like China has experience. And NAFTA yes eve Trudeau and Mexico had to come to the table to sign a better deal for the USA. When I was last in Canada I visited a winery and as I was doing my wine tasting and they have a restaurant attached to it, I was talking to the owner about selling the wines to USA. And she told me that Canada could not export to the USA because of trade restrictions that were imposed by the USA government. I was very surprised and told her but the USA is in NAFTA and you guys are neighbors and you are right here by the border. She made a sigh and shook her shoulders and said well that is how things are. I mean the government putting this in place want to give the local manufacturer whom ever that is or whom ever they are to have a change of surviving against foreign import. If that is bad than sorry. Start a plant here as well, rather then to import ready made paint, manufacture it here as well. I have lots of supplier whom I tell the same thing. All they want is to export to Antigua. I said to many of them have you ever considered putting up a small assembly plant here, I said the government would more welcome that then you just importing and taking out our foreign exchange. Barrett is starting his own farm as he sees the need to stop all that import and keep the dollars here and provide more economic growth for the country. We need to change our mindset with only importing and selling stuff and start manufacturing things. And believe I understand economies of scale is going to be the big set back, but their has to be some consideration given to us being producers and not just consumers of things.

  5. Good Morning.

    To correct your statement about North Coast Hardware for which you clearly talk without any authority and need fact checking similar to when Donald Trump speaks let me correct you as politely as possible.
    The majority shareholder at North Coast Hardware, my wife, (who I work for), is from right here in Antigua, born and raised her whole life, she is the daughter of one of the Fuller’s, so let’s set the record straight before you make any more inaccurate statements.
    Honestly, you use Donald Trump for your argument, was the USA right in killing our “Online gambling business?” I surely don’t think so, the WTO handed Antigua a small win on that front. Do you still support Donald Trump and America’s trade policies?
    Harris Paints isn’t a LOCAL Manufacturer. They didn’t start here , they imported themselves to exploit a trade policy set forth in Caricom. I am all for manufacturing, but you don’t give the manufacturer the sole right to produce paint (that means no one else can make a factory here) and establish 50% taxes that will all but cripple many, many LOCAL paint shops and hardware stores.
    If we want to give the LOCAL manufacturer assistance then find out what they need to compete, lower electrical costs, FIX IT. Lower Port and shipping costs, FIX IT. But, don’t ROB LOCAL hardware and paint shops to give to the manufacturer. That is akin to “Robbing Peter to Pay Paul.”

    Jason
    North Coast Hardware

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