Company transforming lives in Wynter's Pen
WYNTER'S PEN, St Catherine:
With just under five years operating in the community of Wynter's Pen, Spanish Town, Shavuot International Holding Company Limited has taken on the mammoth task of transforming a community that historically has been stigmatised by gun violence.
On a tour of the factory, organised by the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters' Association on Tuesday, Richard Harris, CEO of the company, told The Gleaner that the community has seen a remarkable change in the demeanour and general attitude of the residents since they started operations four years ago.
"We are determined to change the culture of this community. Right now, we are having a tremendous impact on the economy of the community, employing over 50 persons. We have not heard a single gunshot since our involvement in the community," said Harris.
The company produces a range of Jamaican herbal teas and spices for the local and overseas markets, and has earned the reputation of being a major player in the fast-growing castor oil industry.
"We encouraged the young people in the community to get involved in farming, because we have the capacity to purchase all the herbs and spices they can produce."
Marketing director and the CEO's eldest son, Joel, who along with his younger brother Jordan were the chief architects of the manufacturing company's genesis, expressed joy at being able to help with the ongoing process of transforming the community.
"[There has been] tremendous impact on the community, so far over 50 persons have passed through us, receiving on-the-job training at the highest level, receiving top certification; so much so that they are able to work here and abroad, since we are FDA-certified," disclosed the older sibling, who admitted that the company's expansion could not have been possible without the reliance on their father's expertise in the processing business, and capital they were able to obtain from the EXIM Bank to purchase the machinery.
"The mere fact that we could provide employment for the youths, the single mothers, the mothers and the fathers, gives us a true sense of satisfaction." he told The Gleaner.