Bahamian manufacturers service consumer needs in face of pandemic

As much of the world grappled with the uncertainties that lay ahead following the announcement of the first COVD-19 case in The Bahamas, Bahamian manufacturers assessed raw material inventories to ensure supply of their goods would remain uninterrupted.

Many members were immediately deemed essential services, such as water producers, and others quickly received exemptions from the Government, including bread and chemical producers.

While concerns were discussed on potential supply chain constraints on imported finished goods, Bahamian manufacturers like Purity Bakery, Aquapure, Blanco Chemicals, Chelsea’s Choice, Lucayan Tropical, Digi Print and Caribbean Bottling remained operational to ensure consumers’ needs were met, while keeping hundreds of Bahamians employed.

 Members whose traditional products experienced declining demand, shifted production to manufacture vital items including facemasks. “Realizing that a shift in the policy on facemasks was likely coming we reached out to Bahama Handprints to see if they had given any thought to producing facemasks” said Karla Wells-Lisgaris, Vice President of the BLIDC and Brand Manager at Caribbean Bottling Company. “Alannah at BHP quickly responded that she was already giving it thought and would be happy to produce masks for our team members at Caribbean Bottling,” Mrs. Wells-Lisgaris continued. Cartwright’s Bedding has also shifted production from mattresses to face masks.

In response to the national and global shortage of traditional cleaning solutions, Blanco Chemicals will soon be introducing a new product to their line, a disinfectant spray.

“At BLIDC we take immense pride in seeing our members rise to the occasion and service Bahamian consumers with not only their traditionally produced items, but also products new to their operations,” stated Jonathan Cartwright, President of the BLIDC and Cartwright’s Bedding. “We commend the Government for quickly granting exemption approvals for our members and for also welcoming input from the community. We look forward to engaging in discussion on the stimulation of local food production and increased domestic manufacturing. This is the core goal of the BLIDC and we welcome the efforts.”

“We also wish to use this opportunity to say Thank You to all of the essential workers in The Bahamas, especially the hundreds of Bahamians who make up the work force of the BLIDC. While the role of the medical, sanitation, law enforcement and other vital and highly visible sectors of the community are obvious and commendable, there are many Bahamian businesses, small and large, who play an important role in fighting this virus. From fulfilling orders, stocking shelves, and producing products to keep up with the needs of our communities – there are many men and women who aren’t able to social distance themselves. They have an important, though unseen, role to play and we thank them for that” said Mrs. Wells-Lisgaris.

While there is much to be done in the wake of COVID-19, the BLIDC and its members continue to encourage the country to support Bahamian businesses.