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Governor Off to Paris to Meet with New Owners of Cruzan Rum

May 13, 2008 — In the wake of the sale of Cruzan Rum's parent company, Sweden's Vin & Sprit (V&S), Gov. John deJongh Jr. departed Monday for Paris to meet with the directors of the Pernod Ricard, the new owners of V&S.
In Paris deJongh will meet with Chairman Patrick Ricard and Managing Director Pierre Pringuet of Pernod Ricard. Earlier this year Pernod Ricard won the public auction of V&S by the Swedish government for a reported $8.8 billion, making Pernod Ricard "the co-leader in the global wine and spirits industry," according to a Market Wire report. V&S, best known for making Absolut vodka, is the parent company of V.I. Rum Industries.
The governor will discuss plans for the future of Cruzan Rum with Pernod Ricard's senior management. The ownership of Cruzan Rum has changed several times over the past decade, and the chief executive "intends to discuss the future of the company and convey to Pernod Ricard the importance of stability and growth in rum exports to the territory," according to a Government House news release. Pernod Ricard presently produces both Malibu and Havana Club brand rums.
"We are facing an increasingly competitive marketplace with respect to rum production in our region, and it is essential that we secure long-term agreements that will provide stability to our rum industry," deJongh said. "Even as the Cruzan brand has grown under recent owners, we are highly dependent on VIRIL bulk rum sales for the volume of matching-fund revenues."
The overall goal is to create long-term partnerships that will provide support and stability for Cruzan Rum and predictability to government finances over the years ahead, deJongh said.
In other travels, DeJongh went to Boston Saturday, where he and first lady Cecile deJongh attended the JFK Profiles in Courage Dinner Sunday night. The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award is the nation's most prestigious honor for elected public servants.
The Profile in Courage Award was created in 1989 by members of Kennedy's family to honor the president and recognize and celebrate the quality of political courage that he admired most.
The award is named for Kennedy's Pulitzer prize-winning 1957 book Profiles in Courage, which recounts the stories of eight U.S. Senators who risked their careers by taking principled stands for unpopular positions. The award is presented annually to a public official or officials at the federal, state or local level whose actions best demonstrate the qualities of politically courageous leadership in the spirit of Profiles in Courage.
The award is presented each May at a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in connection with the observance of Kennedy's May 29 birthday.
In deJongh's absence and in accordance with the provisions of the Revised Organic Act of 1954, as amended, Finance Commissioner Claudette Watson-Anderson will serve as acting governor. Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis left the territory last week to attend commencement exercises for one of his children on the U.S. mainland. Watson-Anderson will serve as acting governor until Francis returns to the territory at mid-week. Francis will then assume the post of acting governor until deJongh returns to the territory at the end of the week.
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