by Claudette Joseph
This government’s record of State interference with national assets and interests is not good. When they get involved, there is always an outcome where individuals, rather than the country benefit.
Now they are proposing to dismantle the Grenada Co-operative Nutmeg Association (GCNA) and the Grenada Cocoa Association (GCA) that have been in operation for decades and have served our farmers and economy well. The proposal is to dissolve the 2 entities and replace them with a single entity, under the control of a board of directors ALL of whom will be appointed by the Minister of Agriculture. Total political control. Grenadians, are you not tired of this recurring script?
Considering our experience with similar government involvement in oil and gas, the MNIB, the Postal Corporation, the Garden Group Enterprises, Grenada Broilers Inc. (chicken farm) and more; do you trust government’s move to interfere with the last bastions of our agricultural industry? Grenadians, are you not tired of this recurring script?
About 2 years ago, there were reports that one of the Prime Minister’s family was making moves to sell our spices on the international market although he is not known to have any involvement in the industry. Will this new company be the vehicle through which those reports become reality? Do you remember the fiasco and national embarrassment of Joel Webb and his company, W & W Spices Grenada Limited, a few years ago when Keith Mitchell brought this so-called investor here to sell our nutmegs and nutmeg products in competition with the GCNA? Yes people, we already walked that road with Mitchell in the late 1990s to early 2000s. Grenadians, are you not tired of this recurring script?
The GCNA and the GCA are corporations established by specific Acts of Parliament. By their nature and construct, they are designed to put economic power and product control into the hands of the “small man”, the farmers. They are akin to cooperative societies which allow for a group of people who, individually lack economic power, to pool together and operate under one entity in the realm of big business. Put simply, cooperative societies allow the small man to function and thrive in the world of big business as business owners, thereby giving them economic power. The nutmeg and cocoa farmers are the owners of the GCNA and GCA. This move by the NNP will most definitely take that economic power and product control from them. Is this an elitist move against the farmers who are looked down on? Yet, the NNP say they love the poor. Grenadians, are you not tired of this recurring script?
The GCNA and GCA were set up under the colonial era and expanded under Eric Gairy’s government. He empowered the small man and nutmeg and cocoa farming lifted many out of poverty. He built numerous nutmeg and cocoa stations.
The PRG invested a lot of resources and energy into those industries (and agriculture in general). Under that government, little Grenada reigned supreme as number 1 in the world in nutmeg quality and number 2 in production and sales. Then, we exported nutmeg jams and jellies and other products as far as Asia and Europe.
The NDC under Nicholas Brathwaite and George Brisan invested more in those industries (farm roads, training etc.) and we maintained our number 1 status. George Brisan even wrote a book titled ‘Grenada’s Black Gold’, to sensitise and educate us on the value and potential of our nutmeg. The NDC under Tillman Thomas invested heavily, especially in the revival of the cocoa industry. Under him we saw increased revenues from cocoa and the establishment of the Diamond Cocoa Factory (with government support but not control).
The only administration that has not invested in nutmeg and cocoa in the interest of the small man, is the NNP under Keith Mitchell. We have plunged to number 8 in the world for production. Grenadians, are you not tired with this recurring script?
Given the struggles Grenada has had with falling revenues from nutmeg and cocoa in recent years, the best way government can help these industries is to create more tangible support for nutmeg and cocoa farmers. Just as government takes every opportunity to help the tourism industry, especially the big hotel owners, with all manner of concessions and marketing, so too, they must help the GCNA and the GCA without trying to steal the farmers’ business from under them.
We were once the world’s largest producer of nutmeg and we have the world’s highest quality of cocoa. Government’s role in helping to harness and maximise on these opportunities is to create the enabling environment for the industries to thrive. Government can help by revamping the Imani program so that some of our young people can be trained in all aspects of these industries, from cultivation utilising the most modern technologies, to marketing, to maximising use of all by-products. Government should also engage other friendly countries to help train our people involved in these industries to world class standards. Rather than trying to plunder and appropriate the nutmeg and cocoa industries from our farmers, these are the areas that Government should be working with them on. Keith Mitchell is going to say otherwise, but the plain truth is that the proposal on the table takes the power and control away from the farmers. By simply doing the job they were elected to do, government can make a valuable contribution WITHOUT rendering the farmers powerless. Unfortunately, it seems that their intent is to destroy rather than to build while telling us the opposite.
Grenadians, are you not tired of this recurring script? If you are, it is time to rise up! I am.
No disrespect to some of the comments but may I ask how many of you have seen advancement in the cocoa and nutmeg associations. Our quality of these products are the best and yet no change in prices in comparison over the years. As a young farmer i noticed that the associations have failed. Why is it that Trinidad takes our nutmeg, paying a high price. I dont take political sides but the government should work with the association and make it a statutory body. Too much wasteage. People who have little knowledge about cocoa and nutmeg are the ones who leading the association. Please be practical and look at the interest of the farmers. Why should government be bailing out the association when they are paid for the goods. Time to start producing our local goods. Create manufacturing jobs. Offer positive suggestions. Are we forgetting the climate we are in.
I am a grenadian living out of the country, who loves Grenada, and i’am sick and tired of this administration who has not progressed Grenada in any shape or form. We the Grenada in people at home and abroad need to stand up fo our beloved country. Enough is enough.
Well said and equally well done.
How long has Keith Mitchell been in power?
There is dumb, and then, there is dumbness that exceeds any recorded scale dumbness .
Who? may i ask, gave birth to this incredibly asinine idea? There are some things best left along especially if they are working fine. In that case, whathere is the intentionis sometimes needed is a fine tuning to make the machinery increase its efficiency to greater output and profit.
This new idea adds cumbersome levels of bureaucracy which known to gum-up businesses.
Management by committee is hugely a most bad idea. it is the main reason why communism does not work! It adds is a level of kleptocracy. So, there is the purpose big and bold before your eye.. Keep them wide open adn WOKE!.
Why are we silent on matters that will inevitably distroy our own selves and our own people??? This goes beyond any political agenda, this is what supporters on either side need to ask themselves. Why are we not focusing and investing into our food supply, Agriculture, our own?? If we lobby to create industries like in the revolutionary period, utilise our wasted raw materials littering our countryside, create jobs in well managed factories, bottle our products to export instead of shipping our raw materials to Trinidad only to be imported again more expensive!!!! COME ON GRENADIANS!!!! WAKE UP, WAKE UP!!! Demand more from these politicians!!! They are supposed to represent OUR interest, not the other way around!!!!
Like in the revolution?!! why do we keep reminiscing about the past? as it stands now, how viable is investing in factories? and what are you producing? how cost effective would it be to run such an expensive venture? how competitive would your products be? what are your cost of converting raw material into an end product? what skilled labour are at hand to run the factories? And most important markets! its time we as intelligent people understand that its not all about talking factory but the effort and expense that goes along with it! “The Revolution” was an experiment by cuba and by extension the USSR! what became of productive plantations during that dark period of Grenadian history? Grenada lost alot of its commercial capacity as a consequence of revolutionary policies! Vast amout of lands were taken away from land owners. We need to see things for what they are. Can we negotiate better prices for our commodities on the WTO? They dictate what your cocoa and nutmeg is worth! My friend the current world order is not sutible for small developing nations! we are ment to be consumers not producers how can we compete with countries with better infrastructure and industrial capacity? Given our limited resources i say we have done a Great job! just 50 years ago most people were peasants now look around things look alot better, but we can do alot better if everyone come together and work hard to develop this fair land of ours!
Grenadian will not do a thing about it. Because keith mitchell a way of hypnosis.
Government remember they are not job creators! Their business involvement is to create the policies and conditions for businesses to grow.
Government focus should always be centered around farming thus being less reliant on imported food. And the coronavirus pandemic has been a timely reminder of that. Grenadian need to go back to feeding themselves because that’s is the only way to true economic freedom.
Again Grenada will suffer another loss. First was bananas, now nutmeg. The farmers of the island need to come together and tell the government to stop. The government of Granada is not interested in agriculture. This has been proven for all the years this current cabinet in office…. Farmers suffer some stop cultivating, and the real educators of farming lost their interest in agriculture. Grenada remember we are visitors on this planet. If you stop nourishing mother nature. The island will get a taste of her anger…. Do not do wrong by her. Grenada was once a paradise. now I I cry for her.
Thank you for having the courage to address this situation as grenadian nationals where ever we are witnessing the demoralizing of our nation by people who only have self interest our nugmeg and coacoa cannot be allow to be own privately history shows ,look what is going on with grenlec due to its location grenada has the best quality agriculture product we should be aiming to supply the world instead privatising the industry for personal gains. investment should be made to produce more coacoa,nutmeg, turmeric, ganja, where there is global demand we should produce it. it has been proven tourism cannot work a lot is needed to develop our infrastructure ie no roads vendors at the road side tapoling and old shed grenadians will always come home not foreigners passport for investment needs to be transparent and use to help our nation new leadership is needed this childish arrogant behaviour is not helping our nation.
As a grenadian national i am long to be home,when read about the fabric of the nation been distroy for personal gain i wonder what does our future hold.