Barbados Bottling Company (BBC) has come in for praise, not only for reaching its 70th anniversary milestone, but for the world class nature of its plant.

The accolades came recently from Industry Minister, Donville Inniss, who was speaking to the media following a tour of the Newton, Christ Church, operation.

???Often times, we will pick up a drink and hardly bother to read the label to see where it is manufactured, but it is good when we can come as public officers and witness firsthand what is produced in Barbados.

“A lot of our policies and programmes, from the Ministry and the Government perspective, are informed by what is happening out here in the private sector. And, we are very fortunate to be able to come and celebrate with you 70 years of manufacturing in Barbados. I think that that is something that we really have to feel extremely proud of,??? the Minister stated.

Pointing out that the tour showed how human skills and technology continue to work together to produce top quality products that are distinctly Barbadian, he said: ???Whilst Coca-Cola and such names may be foreign, in terms of ultimate ownership, the fact remains that as a franchise product you are able to produce here in Barbados an item that meets international standards. In some respects, you may be even exceeding that of your sister companies elsewhere in the world.

???I am always pleased, as Minister responsible for Industry, when I come out and see products being produced by Barbadian-owned companies that meet these international standards, and certainly BBC continues to get many accolades and awards for their performance on the industrial production side over time.???

The Minister also lauded the opportunities BBC afforded young men and women ??? educated particularly at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic ??? to use their skills, and urged Barbadians to buy local, so as to support the over 70 persons employed in the operation.

Mr. Inniss, under whose portfolio also falls International Business, Commerce, and Small Business Development, said it also meant that Government had to up its game in terms of getting more local products out into the regional and international markets.

???We continue, from time to time, to have some challenges in the external markets, but we are not going to throw our hands in the air and say ???there is nothing we can do???. We believe that wherever we have products, such as these, we are duty bound to get them out in the wider markets,??? he stressed.

The need to be eternally vigilant in terms of what was imported into Barbados was also noted by Mr. Inniss who said: ???We certainly want to know, for example, that as the effort is made by local company BBC to have the right labels affixed to their product, that those coming into Barbados are similarly labelled, and that is perhaps the best way you can have a level field.???

Meanwhile, Chief Commercial Officer, Banks Holdings Ltd., Ray Chee-A-Tow, expressing gratitude to the Ministry for undertaking the tour, told the Minister: ???With your help and your perseverance and commitment in Commerce and in your Ministries, I am sure that we will make BBC and the products we produce a household [name] across the region and the wider world???We look forward to greater engagement for the many years to come to allow us to meet our objectives going forward.???

The BBC, which will be 70 years on November 14, is the franchise holder for international brands Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, Canada Dry and Schweppes Tonic Water.

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