Should Sandals Follow Lok Jack’s Footsteps?
Submitted by Fatimah Mohammed
The billionaire businessman, Arthur Lok Jack, spoke on Wednesday night at the Sandals forum at UWI on the reasons why the proposed hotel resort pulled out of Tobago.
Lok Jack was visibly and audibly angry. He said his long-time friend, Sandals Chairman Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart disclosed to him the real reason for the withdrawal. Lok Jack said Stewart was really upset with the criticisms of Sandals by the UNC Opposition.
Both men believed that the UNC denied its supporters in Trinidad the opportunity to grow and supply agricultural products to Sandals in Tobago. Lok Jack said: “It’s the same people in the United National Congress (UNC), it’s the Indian constituencies of this country who are the farmers” who would respond to the “tremendous amount of demand” by Sandals.
Is this forecast really based on the facts of history?
Lok Jack is the CEO of the Associated Brands Group of Companies (ABIL) which is the leading manufacturer and distributor in the Caribbean of snack foods, chocolate confectionery, biscuits and breakfast cereals. Its brands include Charles Chocolates, Devon Biscuits, Sunshine Snacks, and Universal Foods Limited.
Has ABIL ever supported farmers in Trinidad and Tobago to cultivate and supply sugar for its snacks, corn for its flakes, coconut for its cream filling and shortcake, and rice for its rice crisps?
Has ABDIL ever supported farmers in the UNC “Indian constituencies”, or any farmer in Trinidad to raise cows to supply milk for its milk chocolates and nacho cheese?
If Lok Jack is so concerned about Indian farmers, why did he not step in to save the sugar- growing Caroni Ltd in 2003? His ABIL has been in existence since 1974.
Lok Jack is clearly playing politics.
If he is serious, he should set his own footprints for Sandals to follow.