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Saturday 19 October 2019
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Southex opens up T’dad markets for Tobago products

SMELL TEST: Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi takes a whiff of tea prepared for him and San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello by Margaret Yeates of Plymouth, Tobago at the Southex International Expo.  PHOTO BY YVONNE WEBB
SMELL TEST: Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi takes a whiff of tea prepared for him and San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello by Margaret Yeates of Plymouth, Tobago at the Southex International Expo. PHOTO BY YVONNE WEBB

THE Tobago House of Assembly (THA) has made a big splash at the Southex International Expo at Gulf City Shopping Complex. The expo opened on Wednesday and closed yesterday with a car show.

Southex CEO George Singh said the THA is the largest contingent represented at this year’s event, which was formally launched by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.

One of the Tobago exhibitors, Donna La Roche, CEO of La Roche Unique Design and Angel-like Organic Beauty Products, said she was among a contingent of eight interviewed, selected by the strategic planning department of the Ministry of Finance, and sponsored by the THA.

“This is my first experience coming to Southex. I have never been this far down south.

"I do natural products. I do organic jewellery and organic beauty products, such as Stay Younger Longer cream, hair foods, luxurious spa bars and hair, beard and body oils.”

La Roche said she has been looking for an opportunity to put her products in retail stores in Trinidad and this trade show provided such an opening.

Al-Rawi commended the THA and welcomed the Tobago exhibitors who were participating for the first time in Southex, now in its 29th year.

The AG, accompanied by San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello, also met some of the Tobago exhibitors and sampled locally-made tea manufactured by retired public servant Margaret Yeates of Plymouth. After tasting and viewing her attractively packaged items, he told her to come back to Trinidad and visit the mega-pharmacies and supermarket outlets to get her Yeates Herbal Teas on their shelves.

Yeates also gave Al-Rawi a pack of the tea to take to the Prime Minister.

In an interview with Newsday, Yeates said on retiring about 18 months ago, she wanted to make herself useful and settled on a tea-making career.

“Because we see in the supermarkets so many herbal teas and we have such a wide variety here we can use. These are the teas many of us would have drunk and many still drink today.

"I just wanted to make them more convenient and available, so I did a couple blends, such as turmeric with coconut, turmeric with ginger, turmeric with moringa, orange peel with peppermint, and with cinnamon, and put them in a teabag.

“People in Tobago love them, and I am hoping that with this opportunity Southex has created, I will soon have a market in Trinidad.”

Al-Rawi said San Fernando is in a significant state of development right now in a way not seen before. He commended Singh for the expo’s theme, Rebuilding South.

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