Page 1

Vol. 24 No. 03 - May 2014

Tel: (473) 435-0981/5685

Email: barnacle@spiceisle.com

www. barnaclegrenada.com

JOY UNSPEAKABLE AS COMMUNAL LAUNCHES DEBIT CARD Special Supplement pages 11-38


02 BARNACLE MAY 2014

BARNACLE MAY 2014 47.

www.barnaclegrenada.com

News

NOEL: IN THE ‘NEW ECONOMY’ LOCAL HERBS CAN ANSWER ECONOMIC WOES greatest biodiversity in the world, and we are not doing anything about it. That’s an avenue through which we can increase the wealth of the country. We have to get away from being contented just producing raw materials,” Noel said, noting that countries are following a policy which dates back to the colonial era, while expecting different results. He believes the “time has come” for the people of the region to begin focusing on “value added” to enhance the ability of small island states with open economic to improve the opportunities of its people to gain wealth. “As you know the world is going back to nature and we must take advantage of that,” he argues.

DENIS NOEL GUARANTEES a TOP QUALITY nutmed PRODUCT. he says the herbal industry has significant potential for grenada and the rest of the caribbean. Grenada’s non-traditional herbs and spices sector have the export potential, which if given the attention it deserves, can play a significant role in the island’s economic recovery and the

sustainable development of the region, according to the owner/manager of Noelville, Denis Noel. Noel, a pioneer and manufacturer of NUTMED and other added

value products, utilizing various local herbs and spices, including the nutmeg, indicated the need for more research and development into the health benefits of the vast flora and faunas found in

Grenada and the Caribbean. In an exclusive interview with Barnacle, Noel said the regions biodiversity must be used to enhance its economic develop-

ment and answer the call for greater job opportunities, increase value added and expand avenues for more foreign exchange. “The Caribbean is on record as having the

“With the difficulties facing most Caribbean economies in light of the impending W.T.O and E.U regulations, especially related to Bananas and Sugar, a Herbal sub-sector if pursued, through proper planning can contribute significantly in developing Caribbean economies and at the same time bring benefits to the health and well being of

the majority of Caribbean people,” he suggested. Noel says while the tourism sector is one pillar with potential for growth, Grenada has an additional benefit if it promotes itself as a Health and Wellness destination. He believes as part of the IMF involvement in Grenada and the region, one of the growth areas should has the potential to turn around the economy is agriculture, specifically non traditional herbs and spices. He pointed to Lemon Grass, Lignum vitae, Petite Bum (Basil), Noni Juice, Nutmeg & Mace, Bois Bande, Cinnamon, Guinea hen weed or cudjoe root and Clove as some of the spices whose health benefits are yet to be properly researched and documented. He declared that “for too long” natural remedies which have been handed down through generations have received limited research mainly because manufacturers of expensive conventional medicine have suppressed attempts to explore alternatives. He pondered whether conventional medicine is

these commodities to farmers and to Grenada in general. He also blamed “all previous governments”, which under the legislation, are represented on the boards that provide leadership to the organisations, for entertaining political rather than economic considerations in the choice of leaders for the industry. move focused on saving lives of making money. “The fight against cancers, kidney problems, asthma, high cholesterol and by no means least HIV-Aids could very well be found within our Herbs,” Noel told an international conference. Noel, a farmer, praised the Grenada Cocoa Association for “at long last” attempting to transform the industry by partnering with an international investor in the development and launch of the Diamond Chocolate Factory, which will produce its own local ‘Jouvert’ brand chocolate for the local and international market. He added that Grenada has, in Moringa and Cocoa, used in making dark

Chocolate, two foods that are internationally classified as super-foods. However a search online under the topic has also found that Coconut is listed as a superfood. “That’s a positive step, we have to do the same with nutmegs and other crops, including plants, which are just looked upon today as weeds. That’s where our wealth is,” he declared, while accusing the commodity boards of “keeping back the industry.” He noted that the success of his business was mainly due to his own perseverance, having had to import nutmeg oil from as far away as India to sustain production. This is despite that fact that the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Associa-

tion invested heavily in a non- functioning nutmeg distillation plant in the north of the island. He went further to say that the GCNA has failed its farmers (members) by not providing the necessary leadership that is required to move the industry away from the export of raw material and holding to traditions, while the rest of the world moved on. “If I had to rely on them I would be no where today. They have all the resources but their mindset has to change. It requires more brain power to go into new development and move away from the old moving to the new,” he said adding that there was a need for more research and development to increase the value of

“The farmers in Grenada are kept poor, by the poor policies associate with the main source of revenue to the country. We can do so much more,” Noel, a former chief technical officer and former Minister of Government told the barnacle. He agreed that some of the blame for the state of the industry also fell on his own shoulders as a former Cabinet minister. When he turned 50, noel received a letter of retrenchment from the Public Service Commission (PSC) which he later regarded as “a blessing in disguise,” arguing that the letter motivated him to investigate “old remedies” to discover the elements that made them effective, in a bid to develop and commercialize them.

He called on farmers to begin to move away from the view of farming as a hobby or part time involvement, suggesting that “we need to see farming as a business and we have to decide what direction the business should take,” he said. He called for greater attention to private public partnerships in R&D while encouraging more young people to become involved in biochemistry and phytochemistry, as building blocks to harness the benefits of our natural resources. Noel says every section of the society, particularly governments, the medical profession and the media, must play a role in bringing the issues to life and instigating the kind of studies that will determine the potential impact on both the health sector and the economy.

“Government must lead the way in creating positive change,” he said, renewing a call for the establishment of national and regional consultative bodies, including the University of the West Indies (UWI), to begin the discussion.


BARNACLE MAY 2014 03.

www.barnaclegrenada.com

News

DR. MITCHELL: THE NEW ECONOMY WILL NOT FALL FROM THE SKY AXCEL Finance Grenada Limited, a new micro-finance company has launch its service in Grenada promising to provide “high quality and innovative solutions” to small businesses and individuals.

that small and micro industries have been the backbone of the Grenadian economy for “over a century.” However, he said these small businesses have been dogged by two critical factors: a lack of capital and limited managerial capacity.

The company, which entered the OECS in 2011 and already has operations in Antigua-Barbuda, the Dominican Republic, St. Lucia and Barbados, officially opened its doors in Grenada on April 7th 2014 with a commitment to facilitating business development, social mobility and economic growth of the country. The company’s Country Manager, Patricia Bissessar, said the institution is deploying its capital in a prudent and profitable manner to support investment to realize economic improvements. “AXCEL Finance is the first truly regional finance institution in CARICOM, she declared. She outlined the products currently being offered by the company as express loans targeted to individuals for expenditure related to travel, health or tuition and micro-biz loans for small and medium seized businesses. The company’s Chief Executive Officer, founder and President, Samuel Rosenberg, told the launch ceremony “by making micro–finance more readily available in Grenada, we believe that this endeavor could be a catalyst in advancing public and private sector programs in Grenada,” He listed the company’s main objectives as (1) providing micro, small and medium size businesses with access to credit, (2) promoting entrepreneurship, encouraging ingenuity and empowering people (3) introducing innovation to financial services that makes it easier to do business (4) demonstrate an unwavering commitment to the community.

He said while the commercial banking institutions have served the traditional business well, the smaller industries have been left behind, prompting the need for more micro lending institutions such as Axcel Finance.

pm hon. dr keith mitchell (center) flanked by Patricia Bissessar, axcel’s Country Manager & Samuel Rosenberg , The company’s Chief Executive Officer, founder and President Rosenberg said his company has encouraged activities in other Caribbean countries that have “created thousands of employment opportunities” and the company s projecting a similar experience in Grenada. He said AXCEL Finance has introduced “innovative techniques and propriety systems” to serve clients with “unprecedented efficiency, quicker that any institution in the region,” quoting a report from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank which indicated that the sub-region is “over banked.

such people realize their aspirations and dreams”, the CEO said. Rosenberg told the audience, the activities of his AXCEL Finance are helping to “unleash tremendous human energy and ingenuity, creating a standard of living, of financial freedom and hope, unequaled in the history of businesses in Grenada.” He credited the Chief Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Patrick Antoine for his “continued persistence” in bringing the business to Grenada.

“I believe it is over banked but under-served,” he declared in committing to the development of a “financial literacy programme” in Grenada, to help citizens understand the marketplace and take advantage of the available opportunities to enhance the quality of their lives.

In addressing the launch event, Minister for Finance, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, welcomed the operation suggesting that the activities of AXCEL Finance will lead to the empowerment of the people of the country, reducing their dependence of the public sector.

“There is a basic desire to create a tomorrow which is better than today. It often starts with a willingness to take a chance today in order to improve health, wealth opportunities of the next generation, At AXCEL we went to help

He noted that government is sparing no effort in attempting to turn around Grenada’s fortunes in view of the “long, deep economic crisis which has affected all of us in one way or another”. He championed the need for greater collabora-

tion between the public and private sectors to enable the “transformation” to the “new economy”. However the Prime Minister also expressed the view that while the government’s focus will remain on economic transformation, employment creation and poverty alleviation the “new economy will not fall from the sky.” “The new economy is not like rain or manna which will fall from the sky. It will require greater effort from us all as we switch from the old approaches and orientations and embrace new opportunities new sectors requiring new and in many instances a different skill-set,” he declared. He called for greater reliance on Information and Communications Technology (ICT as a means of increasing efficiency, reducing cost and increasing reach to cliente through out the world. Additionally the Prime Minister said the new economy paves the way for investment in agriculture and other crucial sectors of the economy. The Prime Minister noted

“It is for this reason that this government has taken the strategic decision to support the establishment of micro lending agencies across the length and breath of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique,” the Grenadian leader said, noting that the Small business sector, including Grenada’s youth, is not being adequately being served by the traditional financial institutions. He said his government’s support for AXCEL Finance and other small business financing operations is “a well thought out deliberate strategy of this government….This administration also views this as the assembling of yet another essential of another essential piece of the architecture of the new economy,” he said, describing the arrival of AXCEL Finance as “Momentus.” The Prime Minister described the SME’s as an engine of the economy, arguing that 50% of the jobs created in the economy across the region and Latin America are generated by the SME’s. He encouraged Grenadian businesses and individuals to take advantage of the AXCEL opportunity while the government will maintain its responsibilities to the construction of infrastructure, facilitating the private sector, fund social programmes and uphold law and order with good governance. He committed the Govern-

ment to “do everything possible” to support AXCEL Finance in accessing larger pools of finance. Grenada’s Prime Minister has made a case for public sector workers to become involved in additional income generating activity. Addressing the launch of the AXCEL Financing on April 7th 2014, Dr. Keith Mitchell said people need to move beyond the perception that of income generation being only a day job. “You may never be a satisfied person in the public service if you just sit down and waiting for the government job to satisfy your needs and expect increases and backpay to meet your needs. You will always be unset with every government or maybe upset with your own self,” the Grenadian leader said. He said once the job does not conflict with their official responsibilities, it is important that additional opportunities be created to grasp the opportunities available to enhance their income. The Grenadian leader declared “government cannot do it alone…the days are far gone when government use t give its supporters the impression that just support me and all your problems will be solved. Those days are gone.” Just one year following his Party’s success in the island’s 2013 general elections the Grenadian leaders said government is looking forward to the day when it can “exit the market for micro-financing.” He said the presence of the Micro financing sector will help in supporting small contractors who undertake government projects, particularly at a time when the are island is going through a structural adjustment programme and if facing its own financial difficulties. He also confirmed reports that the administration is finding it difficult to find money on a monthly basis to pay its employees. Grenada’s Prime Minister, who is also the lead head in CARICOM for Information and Communications Technology (ICT), said government must follow the AXCEL lead in utilizing technology to increase the efficiency of its operations.


04 BARNACLE MAY 2014

News

“MORE MONEY, MORE PRODUCTION,” SAYS GCNA BOARD MEMBER RUSH Chairman of the Grenada Cocoa Association and member of the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Association Board of Directors, Ramsey Rush, is pushing for the amalgamation of the two associations, in a bid to help farmers gain the full benefits of both industries.

short shelf life for processed nutmegs, particularly the ground product ad suggested there is a need for more resources to be expended on Research and Development. “We have an agent who sells our raw material, when the price decreases; we have no control, which is always distressing. We need to get into the market with other products and we must be able to sell what we produce,” Rush said.

In an exclusive interview with BARNACLE, Mr. Rush said amalgamation will reduce waste, staff expenses, duplication of services and expenditure on various functions being provided by both entities. “It will be very profitable if we amalgamate ourselves. That is my dream. I think it is wise that we amalgamate,” he said firmly, while sitting in his white pick-up truck, outside the Carlton Cocoa Station in St. Andrew. Rush, who farms both nutmegs and cocoa, called for greater investment and increased prices for the commodities, as incentives to farmers, which he hopes will result in increased production. “We have to strive to maintain a good price,” he said, recalling the period following Hurricane Ivan in 2004, when the price per pound for the commodity dropped to EC $0.40. “No one will go out and pick up nutmeg if there is no return. Once farmers are given a good

In addition, the Chairman of the GCA, who sits on the island’s nutmeg board, wants farmers to “change their approach to their workers” to move the industry forward. He is calling on Grenadian farmers to provide breakfast for workers, recognizing the “hardships of agricultural workers in the current economic climate.”

RAMSEY RUSH price, automatically you get production,” he said, pointing to the increased production in the Cocoa industry as one example. Cocoa Farmers receive EC $1.50 per pound of wet cocoa and over EC $3.00 for dry Cocoa. Rush argues that, as was the case with cocoa, the nutmeg industry is suffering from the lack of a joint venture partner who has the market knowledge and capability to help in the

processing and marketing of value added products. “We need a joint venture partner who has the technology and the market to get our products on the shelves. We can make oil and other things but we need someone who knows the market to help guide the process and that is the weakness of our system,” he told Barnacle. Another of the difficulties facing the Association, according to Rush, is the

“Our young people want to work but we as farmers must change our attitude to our workers. It does not cost much to give our workers some breakfast or some food prior to going into the land,” Rush urged. He also called on government to “help” farmers by improving the road access to their lands as part of the process to increase production and to return to a viable nutmeg industry.

angus steele, lime’s general manager

LIME, on Friday launched a six month “structural adjustment campaign” designed to provide customers with the opportunity to win “essential for living” that range from paying rent or mortgage to school fees and uniforms. The telecommunications company, in partnership with six (for the time being) businesses will offer customers who pay their monthly bills on time or sign up for any service including broadband, mobile or fixed line, a range of reward options. According to LIME’s Angus Steele, the campaign is designed to “give back” to customers at a time when the community is feeling the impact of measures associated with the government’s three year Structural Adjustment Programme and the general state of the global economy. “Our company started off 2014 with a mission – to intensify how and how often we deliver additional value to our customers. Today, we continue with our mission to strengthen customer appreciation with our new Structural Adjustment Program.,” Steele declared as he launched the new programme. He said the Campaign is the result of the “frequent demands” of customers and the company’s observation of “customers struggles” in meeting their financial requirements. “This demonstrates that LIME is more than a good corporate citizen. We are a company whose sole purpose is to improve the lives of the people of the tri-island state,” he told the audience of mainly media and campaign partners. He pointed out that the Structural Adjustment Campaign, which follows the company’s “Share the Cheer” Christmas promotion, the 40/40 Independence promotion and the Debt Amnesty programme, is a demonstration of the company’s level of compassion for customers. As such, at LIME we believe that the quality of our products and services and the satisfaction that our customers receive from these products and services, are worth more to us than cash revenue. This program will significantly ease monthly pressures from four winning customers each month, until September,” he said. He expressed his appreciation to “our cherished partners”, in Rubis Gas, Grenville Credit Union, Country Cold Store, CK’s Super Valu and John’s Boutique, while pledging that other “partners” are eager to join in the campaign.

ANNOUNCEMENT We, at The Barnacle, are delighted to announce that Mr. Cecil Noel and Ms. Antoinette Cadore have joined our Sales team. Both Cecil and Antoinette have proven track records in outstanding Customer Service and Sales. We welcome them, as we continue to build The Barnacle brand, improve the quality of our publication, enhance our reputation as the leading publication of decision-makers and further expand our readership.

LIME Launches Structural Adjustment Campaign

“Our partnership with these enterprises proves that local businesses can have a greater positive impact on the public by working together. We cherish these partnerships, and will continue to build on these and others during the upcoming months,” he declared.

MR. CECIL NOEL

MS. ANTOINETTE CADORE

Representatives of Country Cold Ruth Evans and Molly Gibert, told the Barnacle that the company was keen to participate in the campaign because it was people focused and will meet the needs of the community at a time when it is most needed.


BARNACLE MAY 2014 05.

www.barnaclegrenada.com

New Business

CHOCOLATE ISLAND? If the present leaders of the Grenada Cocoa Association (GCA) have their way, the island can soon be rebranded, Chocolate Island.

In addition, Mr. Hastick indicated that the Jouvay branded dark Chocolate will be mainly for the US market and Industries. Other brands with varying constituents of cocoa, sugar and other flavouring will be develop for local and regional consumption. Grenada currently imports more than US $1.5M in chocolates annually and the GCA wants to achieve a significant portion of that market in the medium term while leaving room for the varying taste of Grenadian chocolate lovers.

In a wide ranging interview, Andrew Hastick, GCA General Manager and Samuel Brathwaite, GCA Accountant, laid out a very promising and exciting future for an industry that currently provides direct income to close to 4000 Grenadian farmers, up from 1000 in 2004. Speaking against the backdrop of the recent launch of the Diamond Chocolate Factory at Diamond in St. Mark, the senior officers of the multi million dollar association said the project was been long in coming although there was “a lot of talk about building a chocolate plant”. “On the 20th march, 2014, we delivered that plant to Grenada,” they said, noting that several benefits will emanate from the project including “the knowledge that we can process our cocoa ourselves.” Hastick said the project has a unique component which allows Grenadians to produce their own chocolate, a capability which few manufacturers in the world have. “We are different because we take the process from the start to the end. I think that’s one of the greatest things the chocolate factory will do is it will turn Grenada into Chocolate Island, he declared, noting that financial rewards will come when production and sales begin. He contends that while Grenada has the raw material, a mixture of two different strains of cocoa which have acquired a distinct Grenadian flavor given the conditions under which it is cultivated, the knowledge and talent to develop a world class chocolate has been the missing element. “For 300 years we were told we could not do it, until now that we have decided to take the bull by its horns. We also

ing that two main factors will affect the final selling price to the consumer. One will be the high price for cocoa paid to farmers and the high price of electricity as part of the manufacturing process.

ANDREW HASTICK - GCA’S GENERAL MANAGER

SAM BRATHWAITE - ACCOUNTANT

know that if we made the chocolates here it have to be marketed. That’s why we linked with the best chocolatier in the world in L.A Burdick. We now have the right mix of beans and talent. He brought the talent and we brought the beans. We are able now to get the perfect marriage,” Hastick declared confidently.

ditionally he is of the view that any improvement in the income of farmers will lead to new interest in the sector by new farmers.

Accountant Brathwaite believes that the island cultural practices, as passed down from one generation to another, provide a solid foundation for the success of the factory and the industry as a whole. He acknowledged that Grenada’s farmers “are central to the process,” and outlined a number of exciting steps taken by the GCA, including the processing of the commodity and offering higher prices, to encourage resurgence in the production of cocoa, especially among Grenada’s youth. “We have a situation in Grenada where farmers can benefit from higher prices because the factory will buy at higher prices from the farmers. They will also benefit through the provision of shares in the holding company under which the chocolate factory will operating.

So they will benefit from dividends when the factory makes profits.” However while both Hastick and Brathwaite were quick to point out that “this is exciting news for our farmers,” they just as quickly warned that “this is not a silver bullet. This will take time. It took 300 years to build the factory; it will take some time to establish itself and get a rightful place in the market.” The plant, located in the historic rural St. Mark parish, has the capacity to produce 1.2M pounds of cocoa per year. Asked whether the GCA will continue to export cocoa to other customers, Hastick leaned back in his chair and, with a wry smile on his face remarked, “what the creation of the Grenada Chocolate Factory has done is create an alternative to the export of raw material in a bag. It is a good thing for the association and the industry because it will increase demand which should be reflected in higher prices.” He believes that this demand will drive increased production, resulting in greater benefits for farmers, the industry and for the people of Grenada. Ad-

Responding to criticism that the policies of the association may have retarded the growth of farmers and “kept them poor,” a normally shy Hastick sat upright in his brown cloth bound office chair and addressed the issue in a very forthright manner. We still believe that GCA as a Coop is the best structure to serve the many small cocoa farmers. With regards to value added, “When we look at our history, people have complained for many years that we should do something about adding value, but many dreamed and these dreams died with them. Therefore let it be said that it was this generation, the new leaders of the process, who moved beyond the status quo of exporting our raw material in bags to other countries. We are the ones who are revolutionizing the system,” he affirmed. He said the creation of the Diamond Chocolate Factory at Diamond Estate was one of the final actions of a 2007 strategic plan to resuscitate the industry by motivating farmers who were devastated by two

hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, resulting in subdued production. The GCA official said the board and management of the Association took a decision then, to boost farmers morale by offering incentives, programmes and increased prices “from money we did not have.” “The final thing we wanted to do as part of that plan was to build the chocolate factory. This was almost an impossible task and we knew it was an impossible task because it had not been done for 300 years,” he said, although never at any moment doubting its possibility. Now that the hallmark has been reached, the management team of the Association is looking forward. The new focus is to take full advantage of the benefits provided by a guaranteed market arrangement in the United States through “the perfect marriage,” with partner, L.A Burdick, to sell all the products we are making now. “Our plan is to get these products far and wide. So over the next five years the GCA will be aggressively trying to expand, to get its products as far east as China,” he affirmed, suggest-

“Our share of the market will be determined by how well markrt our products . He said the price will be based on factors of quality, history and culture recognizing that the price for Grenada chocolate on the international market has been traditionally high. L.A Burdick will be the first customer for Grenada chocolate I do believe that Grenadians are sufficiently smart to know what to buy and how to buy. We will not have to tell them to buy local,” he said with a smile. “It’s a difficult process and I believe that something that was hidden from a country cannot be overcome in one day or a year. The farmers are very happy and sadly you cannot see an impact in a tree crop like cocoa immediately”, he confirmed. He welcomed the “commitment from the top” to help stimulate production by putting more land into production and assisting more farmers to clear fields that have fallen into non production. Five years ago we had just over 1000 farmers as registered producers, today we have over 3600 going up to 4000, it means that people are really excited about cocoa. Asked if this was a game changer, Hastick responded by noting that cocoa is 10% of Belgium’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) although that country “does not have a single cocoa tree.”


06 BARNACLE MAY 2014

New Business

JOUVERT IN DIAMOND “Nutmeg is Grenada’s Black Gold, Cocoa is Grenada’s Diamond.” That’s the declaration from the Chairman of the Grenada Cocoa Association (GCA), Ramsey Rush, as he addressed the historic opening of the Diamond Chocolate Factory, a million dollar operation which will process cocoa beans into chocolate, in the rural West coast parish of St. Mark, also referred to as Sunset City by residents.

GCA Adds Value to Cocoa, Farmers Get Increase Incentives

However, according to the GCA the industry has seen an unprecedented surge with more than 3500 registered farmer now involved in production. The GCA is ecstatic as it projects to double production of the commodity within the next 3-5 years. Grenada’s cocoa has an international reputation for its distinctive flavor and has been used by World’s Finest Chocolates and other companies as a blend for bulk cocoa from other parts of the world, to enhance the final product available to customers on the shelves of the world’s shops and supermarkets.

The operation, a privatepublic partnership between the GCA, the Government of Grenada and the United States based L.A Burdick Homemade Chocolates, has been seven years in the making. The state of the art manufacturing plant has transformed a historic, antiquated building that was used as storage for cocoa and nutmegs purchased from local farmers in their raw form, for over a century. Rush speaking with the factory, located in Diamond, St. Mark, an area that has a rich history in cocoa production dating back to the 1600’s, was quoted by the Chairman of the day’s proceedings, Christopher Williams as telling the GCA Board of Directors “make me chairman and give me $170,000 and I will give you chocolate.” According to Williams while he was not given the money, he was given the chairmanship of the GCA and kept his promise to push for a value added operation in preference to the export of Grenada’s raw Cocoa beans in bags, which was then imported in the form of chocolate bars and beverages. “The decision of the Association to venture into Value added forms part of a strategic plan for the sustainable and incessant development of this pivotal subsector of the agricultural sector,” Rush told the large cross

crease in production was also the result of a fall in the number of farmers involved in Cocoa production, from 3000 to 1000 farmers.

The GCA continues to work with government to increase the acreage under cocoa cultivation and the industry has found a friend in Minister for Agriculture, Roland Bhola, himself a farmer from a traditional cocoa growing area in rural St. Andrew, the largest of Grenada’s seven parishes with a reputation as the island’s breadbasket.

section of the Grenadian community that had gathered to witness the historical event.

three centuries earlier, we intend to elevate this factory to a global supplier of premium chocolates. We believe the odds are in our favour,” he declared, adding that, “we have a perfect partner in Burdick chocolates.”

That activity reflected a mix of the present and the traditional with students from the nearby St. Mark’s Secondary School reciting the stories of the commodity and its planters, along with the traditional methods of polishing the beans for export. Describing the opening of the plant as the “fulfillment of a gigantic dream” which would impact the lives of over 3000 farmers, Rush indicated that the activity marked the 300th anniversary of the arrival of Cocoa in

Minister for Agriculture, Roland Bhola

LARRY BURDICK, L.A. BURDICK CHOCOLATES

Grenada.

who nurtured the few cocoa plants into a world leader of cocoa beans

“Like the few pioneers

Grenada’s has had a unique experience with cocoa production, which peaked at 14M pounds in the 1970’s and fell to 100,000 pounds following two devastating Hurricanes; Ivan in 2004 and Emily in 2005. However with sustained attention from the GCA and strategic intervention by the island’s government, the industry bounced back to 2M pounds ten years after the storms. The de-

“We will continue to play our role in supporting the industry. We are going to help rehabilitate 50 acres of planted cocoa and we will also help farmers who have 50 acres to establish new cocoa fields. We believe this initiative needs all the support in can get,” he declared to the launch ceremony. Bhola said the government feels a “deep sense of achievement and accomplishment” with the establishment of the plant which fulfills a decade’s long dream to add value to the island’s abundant raw materials. He made a case for increased investment in the agricultural sector to utilize the abundance of tropical fruits, which go to waste every year, while


BARNACLE MAY 2014 07.

www.barnaclegrenada.com

New Business

the island imports a large quantity of products made from similar fruits and vegetables from other countries.

He indicated that more that 1.7M pounds, with a value of EC $23M, was exported in that same year.

“This is insane,” he declared, adding “we need to grow more, we need to use more and we need to support local.”

He called for more attention to the growing international market for soursop, a long, prickly, green fruit, which can have a mass of up to 15 lb. The flesh of the fruit consists of an edible, white  pulp, used to make fruit nectar, smoothies, fruit juice drinks, as well as candies, sorbets, and ice cream flavorings. The fruit which is also known as sweet sop or  guanavana in some parts of the Caribbean and latin America, has been generating must interest from the health sector.

The senior government minister said his ministry has already taken steps to bolster production of cocoa, with the planned commercialization of several large government estates. He said any investor will have to agree to a government stipulation that the cultivating of cocoa and nutmegs be central to their commercialization. In justifying the government’s investment thrust in the Agricultural sector, the Minister pointed to the transformation of the fishing sub-sector to a multi million dollar industry with over 6M pounds of fish valued at EC $42M landed in 2013.

According to Minister Bhola, Grenada has a “tremendous opportunity” to expand its foreign exchange earnings through agricultural expansion. “Government is giving concessions, tax breaks

and incentives for investment in agriculture. So I am begging, please come forward, get involved, and government is willing to work with you,” he pleaded. “If we conceive it, and we believe it, we can definitely achieve it” Bhola said in closing his 20 minute long address. The Diamond Chocolate Factory launch ceremony relived several aspects of traditional plantation life with the dancing of the cocoa, as workers on the estate were allowed to dance bare footed on the beans, which were placed in a large cauldron called a ‘copper’ to polish the cocoa beans in preparation for export. The workers danced to traditional rhythms played on hand made goat skin drums. Grenada’s Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell cut the ribbon to officially open the chocolate plant. The project was funded

by the Grenada government, the GCA and the United States Agency for International Development with significant technical input from partners L.A Burdick, represented by Larry Burdick, who preferred to “soak up” the moment from his front row seat, rather than from the podium.

“This is a chocolate makers dream come true,” he declared in a very short statement, while paying tribute to the island’s cocoa farmers who, he said, provides food security, are stewards of the land and keep the island beautiful to the benefit of other industries such as tourism. He said in the absence of

subsidies, Grenada must do all it can to ensure a quality of life for its farmers, including the development of projects such as the Diamond Chocolate Factory, housed in one of the oldest, yet functional buildings, the Boucan, in the parish of St. Mark. A spokesman for Burdick said the cultural practices that brought the cocoa from the tree to the ships, will be pursued in the production of the confectionery. “So this is as much a fullfledged business partnership as it is a cultural experience and a throwback to a celebration of our history in one bar (of chocolate),” said one naturalized Grenadian citizen who spent most of her life in Grenada. Four persons, including Burdick, were awarded for their outstanding contribution to the fulfillment of this Grenadian dream.


08 BARNACLE MAY 2014


BARNACLE MAY 2014 09.

www.barnaclegrenada.com

News

GRENADIANS MAY PAY EVEN MORE By Richard Simon Grenadian consumers can see two increases in the price of electricity within months, if the government sticks to its decision to charge the Grenada Electricity Company (GRENLEC) 50% duty on the importation of inputs. GRENLEC recently received government’s defacto support for a 0.77% increase in its charges due to the Mitchell Administration’s failure to establish a Public Utilities Commission or respond to the company’s request for the increase after 120 days. Now the administration has, without consultation, amended the legislation establishing GRENLEC, forcing the company to pay “50% of customs and all other import duties and landing tax on all plant, machinery, equipment, vehicle, meters, instruments, vehicles, fuel, lubricants and materials including replacement parts and spares imported by the company, among other adjustments.” GRENLEC has expressed its “grave concern” over the government’s decision to amend the principal act which exempted the company from duty payments, resulting in its ability to “keep electricity costs at a minimum.” Interim Managing Director and CEO of GRENLEC, Clive Hosten bemoaned the fact that the company only received notification of the changes in the Electricity Supply Act in mid January, 2014 two weeks after the law had been amended and that no prior consultations had taken place between government and the company.

RBC/RBTT PROMPTS MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS Staff at the Grenada branches of RBTT has been thrown into more uncertainty as the bank recently announced the closure of its Grenville branch as part of the “streamlining” of its operations and delivering “an improved banking service to customers.” The latest statement from the bank, which also indicates a consolidation of the operations of the St. George’s and Grand Anse branches of the bank, with the latter becoming the main office of the bank, follows the continued reduction of staff in its Grenada sphere of operations. According to the bank the closure of its Grenville unit “will take place within the next two to four months and the time frame for the consolidation of our St. George’s and Grand Anse branches will be communicated by the end of May.” “We have been looking closely at our operations across the Eastern Caribbean, for some time with a view to ensuring that we design a more efficient business, one that is more sustainable and that effectively serves our clients,” explained Isaac Solomon, managing director RBC/RBTT.

nazim burke, LEADER OF THE NDC

Clive Hosten , Interim Managing Director GRENLEC

to customers, adding that Chairman, Robert Blanchard met with the government on January 28 to discuss the implications of the amendments on consumer rates.

people who would have to pay the price. It places an additional unnecessary burden on every household, hotels and other businesses, at a time when we are already coping with an unprecedented level of taxation,” Burke said.

Hosten said the company is into ongoing discussions with the government as it calculates the possible impact the amended legislation is likely to have on the Grenadian consumer. “I am not sure that the government understood what the implications were for the change. The fact that they have no opposition in Parliament they are doing what they think they can do. They do not understand that the company can respond in ways that will not reflect positively on the government,” said one private sector official, who speculated that any further rate changed will only “put more pressure” on the Grenadian consumer. He pointed out that already government’s own taxation measures are negatively impacting consumers disposable income.

”We are disappointed that there was no discussion with GRENLEC concerning the amendment in order to give us the opportunity to make an assessment of the potential impact it will have on rates,” Hosten said.

Newly elected leader of the National Democratic Congress, Nazim Burke also weighed in describing the government amendment to the legislation and the manner in which it was done as “short-sighted, unnecessary and confrontational”.

He said the company is “always willing” to work with government to find solutions that would avoid additional burdens

“It is a knee-jerk response that appears to be triggered by underlying motivations. Ultimately, it is the Grenadian

“There is a mode of operation for issues that obviously have the kind of public impact that this has. In the face of the current economic climate that Grenada is in, confrontation is not the answer. The Prime Minister must match his words when he called for inclusiveness and partnership with his actions,” Burke told Barnacle. The former Minister of Finance argues that GRENLEC’s initial 0.77% increase was due to the government’s delay in responding to the company’s from GRENLEC for a rate increase under the Electricity Supply Act, which required that GRENLEC submits its request for a rate increase to a Public Utilities Commission. According to Burke the PUC, which was established by the Tillman Thomas administration, was not reconstituted following February 18th general elections. That commission is yet to be reconstituted. The law gives the company the right to proceed with a rate change, if the government, through the PUC, fails to respond to the application within 120 days.

He explained that “the economies of the Eastern Caribbean continue to face tough challenges and RBC/RBTT as a committed partner to the region, must be flexible and nimble in its response to the external environment, while continuing to be responsive to our clients’ needs,” Solomon said. However local analysts are concerned with the banks posture which commits to improving its service to RBC/RBTT customers, is not the whole story. One analyst described the statements as “hidden codes” indicating that the bank is not making money in its Grenville operations while its expenditure in salaries and wages are “high.” However, the issue has prompted one to question the sincerity of the bank’s statement that it is attempting to improve service while “closing a branch in our agricultural center”, forcing RBTT Grenville customers to look at alternative financial institutions for banking services or travel to Grand Anse to do simple transactions. “I think the message is that they are not willing to deal with the little accounts that are in these branches. Over the past year a lot has happened to shift the customers with significant accounts to Grand Anse, that is why the emphasis is on that branch,” the analyst, with knowledge of the banks operations told the Barnacle. The latest statement has also fuelled growing speculation that the “ongoing efforts” of the bank are designed to “significantly reduce” its Grenada footprint in preparation to exit the market. “It is likely that you may see a collapsing of the structure into another Canadian based bank, but the short term impact will be on Grenada’s already high unemployment and the current difficult fiscal situation facing the national economy,” the analyst told Barnacle. He questioned the sincerity of the banks promise “to continue to work with clients, employees and other key stakeholders to ensure that the consolidations are seamless, with minimal disruption to the clients and the delivery of service to them”, as “just words.” The RBC/RBTT said the Bank is committed to the “people and community of Grenada” and will “ensure that we deliver the excellent service” that they “deserve.” “Our clients are our number one priority and we will work to ensure that throughout this process our clients continue to receive best-in-class service.” The RBC/RBTT statement said. The RBTT contraction follows similar activity by LIME and other multinational private sector companies in Grenada.


10 BARNACLE MAY 2014

News

Gold Found in Carriacou costume was also championed by some young teenage girls, just standing on the side watching. When I questioned them, with big smiles they replied, “We are with them!” , indicating the troupe of players. One of the older ladies who was doing the cooking in a big pot over an open, outdoor fire, explained, “When we were children, we would all stand in a line on the wall of the water reservoir in Mount Royal, only allowed to look down and watch the festivities. Now we include the children, for they will take it to the future.”

Susan Mains Treasure hunters ply the Caribbean seas looking for that great find that will enrich and give them fame. Lore of sunken pirate ships provide the lure, but when you come to Carriacou, there is a much greater reward, just waiting to reveal itself. Besides the sea and sky and small island hospitality, the one thing that draws one back is the deep cultural customs of the island. The oral tradition of ties to Africa; the dance, drum, foods, have been preserved over 400 years--since when the slaves were first brought from Africa to work on the plantation of the English and Scottish planters. The synthesis of culture that is found in the boat building can be traced to Scotland and

Africa. Proud of these traditions, this is the first topic in which many “Kayaks” engage when speaking about their homeland. So it is with disap-

pointment that there is a generation of young adults who have abandoned the traditions, in favour of laptops, ipads, and cell phones, preferring to keep constantly entertained, amused, or

occupied with the connections to the big world out there somewhere. Most heartening is the elders’ response to this affliction; they are taking a very active role in assuring that the children of Carriacou do not lose touch with the ancestors. During the carnival, Shakespeare Mas is now populated by the traditional mature men, and a whole cadre of boys and girls they are teaching the lines of Caesar and Brutus. Along with the fiery recitation, there is the stomping footwork, and of course the beating with a bull pistle for making an error. From my observation, the children were quite polite in their strokes, not wanting to inflict pain. The shirt of the bright coloured

The Maroon festival also provided insight into the care for the young. The schools’ steel band was impressive, more so, because many of the children had their notes and chords marked in an exercise book, following along as the tunes poured out of the pans. This indicates that there is real music being taught, not just that they learn every tune by rote. The tunes were interesting and sophisticated, variations of well-known covers, executed with flair. Then there was the Nations Dance at the Saraka. After enjoying the traditional smoked food (smoked because it is cooked in large pots over wood fires), Winston Fleary, heralded “King of Culture” opened the ring of fire to the dancers. Again, very

young ladies were at the fore, performing the different steps of the African tribes that originally made up the peoples of Carriacou. Their dance was energetic, engaged, and delightful to watch. The crowd’s favourite moment may have been when one of the young drummers, a very tall and lanky lad, jumped in to do the male counterpoint in the dance. He looked like a gamboling young giraffe, but knew the steps and was completely in the moment. I observed that during all of these examples of young people involved in culture—none of them were checking their cell phone. This active engagement gives them identity, it tells them that although they are from a tiny island in the southern Caribbean, their hopes and dreams are valid (borrowing from Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o). It gives them purpose, camaraderie, discipline, and respect for others. It honours what is truly ours, and gives it a presence in the daily life. It takes the focus off the constant demand of the electronic, and returns it to what is real here and now. Carriacou’s gold is her children, guided and nurtured by the Grannies and Papas, who care enough to spend the time teaching them. Matthew 6:21 in the New Testament says it succinctly “…where your treasure is, your heart will be also.”

GRENADA BAR ASSOCIATION The Grenada Bar Association at its Annual General Meeting on the 15th April, 2014 elected a new Executive. The Executive is headed by the President, Mr. Ruggles Ferguson, Partner at the firm of Ciboney Chambers and Ms. Lisa Taylor, Partner at Henry Hudson-Phillips & Co., is the new Vice President. Ms. Ayanna Nelson, Principal at St. Ives Chambers returns as Secretary and Ms. Deborah St. Bernard, Partner at the firm Lewis & Renwick is the new Treasurer. The Floor Members of the Executive are Mr. James Bristol, Immediate Past President and Partner at Henry, Henry & Bristol; Ms. Sheila Harris, Partner at Grant, Joseph & Co.; Ms. Tanya Lambert, Associate at Wilkinson, Wilkinson & Wilkinson; and Ms. Karen Samuel, Principal at Samuel Phillip & Associates. The new President thanked the membership for placing their confidence in him and spoke of his intentions to develop a system of continuing legal education for attorneys as well as to enhance public legal education: keeping the public abreast of their rights and legal responsibilities. The President also pledged to continue engaging the Government of Grenada to assist with legislative reform.


BARNACLE MAY 2014 11.

www.barnaclegrenada.com

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

The Power of Collaboration The collaboration and strategic partnership between four Indigenous Institutions in the OECS region, the Grenada Public Service Credit Union Limited (PSCCU), the Grenada Cooperative Bank Limited (Co-op Bank), the Caribbean Credit Card Corporation (4C’s) and now The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd was brought to the fore on Tuesday April 15th. 2014 as the CCCU stepped into the “plastic” marketplace.

the next day,” the release said. A Card Support Services Unit will form part of a support team of partners and the 4C’s network to provide quick and easy responses to customers queries, with a promise that soon cardholders would be able to electronically track their account activity for both cash withdrawals and purchases. Richard Duncan, Managing Director of the Grenada Co-operative Bank which helped to give birth to the Connex Brand, expressed his delight at the level of collaboration that went into the project and committed to share his Bank successes with “sister organizations”.

That’s when the CCCU formally launched its co-branded International Debit Card under the CONNEX brand. The activity was held under the theme “CONNEX: GROWING THROUGH THE POWER OF COOPERATION’’ which aptly reflected the value and benefits of the collaboration between the four institutions, with each speakers committing to “collaborate where we can and compete where we have to.” The launch was characterized by an air of camaraderie and friendship, as speakers referred to each other by first names, although recognizing that in the economic space, that is Grenada, there is, of necessity, rivalry and competition. A sub theme for the day may have been, ‘a time of celebration; the success of one is the success of all,” as chief executives and staff members, who had worked together for many months to get the product to market, tapped each other on the shoulder and toasted their shared success. According to the CCCU, the Communal Connex IDC provides a level of freedom and

lennox andrews manager of the cccu (3rd from left) in company of key partners of cccu debit card initiative

convenience to members through point of sale payments at shops and supermarkets, online purchases and secure international transactions while travelling. “The IDC product gives the members of Communal safe, convenient and easy access to their funds any day, anytime and anywhere they are in the world,” including any

merchant who is part of the VISA and MasterCard family, boasted a media release from ConneX. All six speakers at the event testified of their satisfaction with the Card which is offered by their respective institutions. “IT FEELS GOOD”, declared the General Manager of the Communal Cooperative Credit Union as he proudly displayed his co-branded card.

Holders of the card can shop wherever Visa Debit Cards are accepted; access their money at any ATM within the VISA Plus (R) network, worldwide’, enjoy safe transactions with the anti-fraud monitoring system facilitated by 4C’s and worldwide assistance for lost or stolen cards through VISA Global Assistance Center. The card would be accepted

by over thirty (30) million merchants worldwide. “Our members will be joining in the technological revolution which is transforming the methods of payments for goods and services. Members do not need to carry large amounts of cash and merchants will obtain instant authorization for any payment of any amount and obtain settlement

CONNEX (GRENADA) INC. the owners and founding shareholders of the CONNEX Brand, is committed to providing the citizens of the Eastern Caribbean the modern convenience of easy and cost effective full electronic access to their funds while traveling within the OECS. In furtherance of this commitment the Company will permit any indigenous financial institution to become a participant within the Connex ATM and POS networks through sponsorship by anyone of the founding shareholders.


12 BARNACLE MAY 2014

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

Joy unspeakable as Communal launches IDC Andrews: Though we are at an early stage in the usage of this card, I can safely say upfront that the feeling is good

officials of the corporate business community joined with cccu to launch the historic debit card

lennox andrews, general manager communal co-operative credit union

The Communal Cooperative Credit Union achieved yet another milestone on April 15th with the launch of the COMMUNAL CONNEX International Debit Card (IDC) as the Credit Union stepped into the “plastic space” that was once reserved for other financial agencies.

gives us a special drive to continue working with alacrity and dignity, but not sacrificing quality, to meet the ever changing and ever increasing needs of our members,” Mr. Andrews said.

General Manager Lennox Andrews may have only read from a script to control his exuberance and obvious glee, as he launched the card. Excitement! Satisfaction! Those were the words

that characterized the Trade Center Annex on April 15th as the Communal Co-operative Credit Union (CCCU) launched its international debit card to an audience of its members, collaborators and the media. It was a visibly satisfied Lennox Andrews, General Manager of the CCCU who took to the podium to reaffirm his belief in the new product and to inform the world of his personal experiences with the card. “It feels good”, he declared as he justified the beaming smiles and

pats on the back for the many who has worked in harmony to bring to market this “piece of plastic”. A rather relaxed, open jacketed stance, Mr. Andrews (Toes-to his friends) described the approval he felt as he expressed “not many events in the world bring joy and happiness to a people, but what is clear is that when people work together and provide themselves with a good or service that is the product of their efforts then, there is no greater joy that these persons can have.”

The Communal ConneX International Debit Card is a collaborative effort of the CCCU, the Grenada Co-operative Bank (GCB), the Caribbean Credit Card Corporation (4C’s), and the Grenada Public Service Cooperative Credit Union, a collective effort that provided Communal members with “this wonderful product.” “Though we are at an early stage in the usage of this card, I can safely say upfront that the feeling is good; it is good because this card brings with it a sentiment of satisfaction, a sense of achievement and it

Utilizing his usual captivating, motivating and philosophical vocabulary, Andrews described the abilities of the human species to “transform ideas and raw materials into goods and services to satisfy its needs.” “There is no measure of the extent to which the human species can go in the creation

of goods and services to maximize peoples’ utility,” he declared as the Communal stood “tall and firm, with shoulders upright and majestic with a clear direction, discrete and objective,” with the fulfillment of a major goal that will bring joy and happiness to our members. Tracing the history of the credit union that is now CCCU, he went back to fifty years ago, when “a few good men and women” gathered at the top of Market Hill in a “somewhat dilapidated looking building,” to create the noble institution.


BARNACLE MAY 2014 13.

www.barnaclegrenada.com

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement According to the General Manager, with about $500 and a commitment to achieve, the group “chartered and created the base for an institution that today would compete and be contemporary with all technological advances the financial sector would have at its disposal.” “Today, as we in Communal celebrate fifty years as a credit union, we want to remember and render homage and pay tribute to these good men and women. We do so by “Living their Dreams” and by giving their Communal members this beautiful gift of an International Debit Card which allows them to have full access to their money anytime, wherever they may be.

the real foot soldiers, with members from Communal and Co-op Bank was established to move the process forward.

fact, a check list was prepared to ensure that all was place for the successful staging of this event,” the General Manager assured.

He promised a well trained cadre of staff in the CCCU’s Card Services Unit in various processes such as application, distribution and issuing the card and on the new ATM module, to ensure quality of service to members.

A decision that took place in March 2012 was “effectively” implemented over a two year period and culminated with a “signature event” on April 15th, 2014.

In the midst of these events were the signing of important legal documents and agreements with all three

“We are happy, we passed the exam and we did so with high marks,” Andrews proclaimed, in a tone that may have reflected his experiences with his head teacher at the St. Andrews Anglican

lengths to “give our members the satisfaction that what we are making available to them is a product and service that would be impeccable and without flaws. In other words, we expect the card to work smoothly and that there should be minimum complaints from our members.” However he cautioned of the need to “use their card wisely and correctly and to follow the instructions, especially the security instructions that are outlined for you in the package that accompanies your card.”

of Communal and of the diversity of its membership arising from its open bond nature. Of necessity its outreach has to be international as it is sending a clear message to our more than 1,500 international members who reside in North America and Europe that they now have an international instrument that would allow them to access their national funds here in Grenada,” he quipped, with the expectation that international members will also feel good as the card becomes available to them.

Andrews described the journey that led to the April 15th launch as “clearly defined” with the events of the day “timely and masterfully executed.”

On September 24th 2012 the first project initiation meeting took place, leading to the formation of a Project Steering Committee, involving the Managing Director of Co-op Bank; the General Manager of Communal; the Project Manager; the Executive Manager of Operations and Administration of Coop Bank; and the Accounting Manager of Communal. According to Mr. Andrews, a Project Team, considered

In concluding his pointed address, garnished with some light hearted comments, Mr. Andrews expressed his appreciation to the CCCU Board of Directors for taking the “objective” decision of engaging Coop bank as the card service provider. “The decision was well made,” he declared. He also recognized the work of the staff of the Communal, Mrs. Fields, Ayana Russell and their team of “foot soldiers” who worked with Coop Bank and PSCCU staff to convert what started as a project into a long lasting service of Communal. “I want to say to you that I have every confidence not just in your academic ability but in your intellectual integrity to ensure that Communal Card Services Unit provides the highest quality service that is typical of Communal,” he almost bragged.

Today, the memory of our founders lives and the institution that they would have created would live forever,” he declared as his finger wagged as if to add emphasis to the point.

The CCCU and its collaborating agencies began the process in March 2012 when the CCCU Board of Directors mandated that all the objectives in Communal 2012-2014 Strategic Plan were to be satisfied within the period.

the regional credit union movement.

And finally, quoting Shakespeare, Andrews proffered that “the heights of Great men reached and kept were not achieved through sudden flight; but they while their companions slept were toiling through the night.” Shurla Harris-Fields, Mgr. Treasury & Accounting Functions at cccu (back row left) led communal staff in the process towards achieving the card.

parties which preceeded a soft launch or Pilot on March 3rd, 2014 for one month, allowing staff, Management team, Board of Directors and Committee members to be issued the card, with some being requested to carry out specific activities to the card.

Secondary School (SAASS) in Telescope, St. Andrew.

“I am happy to say that we are here today because the pilot as reported by the Project Consultant was executed without problems; the report from Co-op Bank Audit Team was clean signifying that all systems, operations, policies and procedures were up to standard. In

“It is this transfer of know-how that gives us the confidence that we in Communal are well prepared to provide quality card services to our members. I have to thank Mr. Duncan and his Co-op bank team for that,” he said.

He noted that apart from the internal upgrade to software and equipment, the transfer of know-how (technology) from Co-op Bank to Communal staff was most revealing.

Andrews went to great

For the General Manager the launch was also a test of his promise to the 2013 Annual General Meeting that by the end of the year, the Communal will have its own international debit card. With a wry smile he commented, almost under his breath, that he does not have to wait for the next AGM to invite members to receive their cards but that the cards were immediately available. “This card represents a natural outcome of the growth and expansion

Looking forward the General Manager of CCCU views the international debit card as an instrument that allows for closer collaboration through shared services and the use of common technologies, with other credit unions in the region, as he welcomed representatives from the City of Bridgetown Credit Union and Eastern Credit Union of Trinidad & Tobago.

“We at Communal will continue to happily toil through the night, thinking of new ideas and new ways of doing business so as to achieve greater heights for the enjoyment of the now 18,000 and the many more members Communal will soon have. Our journey continues for it has only just begun and it feels good,” Andrews said. The only words that seem to be missing was the ‘yours truly,’ a closing line in a fraternal letter between friends.

The two bodies recently signed a Partnership Agreement with Communal and two more credit unions in our region, to strengthen

However he opted instead for “ladies and gentlemen I thank you very much indeed,” as if being careful to be as inclusive as he could.


14 BARNACLE MAY 2014

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

Francois: It’s a Wonderful feeling and a pleasant sight The President of the Board of Directors of the Communal Co-operative Credit Union (CCCU) has welcomed another product to the portfolio of the CCCU, with the launch of the New Communal ConneX International Debit Card on 15th April 2014 at the Grenada Trade Center Annex. preliminary works (the back office, the behind the scene activities) have been properly executed; the pilot and testing periods revealed no negatives and the card is now available for use by all Communal members,” he confirmed.

The President of the Board of Directors of the Communal Co-operative Credit Union , Michael Francois proud members of the Communal Co-operative Credit Union were on hand to witness the launch of the IDC which forms part of the CCCU’s 50th anniversary celebrations

A dignified, Michael Francois, in opening remarks at the launch event described it as a “wonderful feeling and a pleasant sight” as he welcomed the support for the Communal ConneX International Debit Card. In a major vote of confidence for the project, the chairman thanked the partners of the Communal; the Caribbean Credit Card Corporation, the

Grenada Co-operative Bank and the Grenada Public Service Cooperative Credit Union, for facilitating the process that brought Communal members “into the age of plastic”.

transfer of knowledge and technology to our Communal staff, so that we in Communal are well prepared today to provide quality card services to our members.”

Mr. Francois was generous in his expressions of appreciation to the leadership of the Grenada Co-operative Bank for “guiding us in this journey, through the sharing and

“It signifies the accomplishment of our long term objective of expanding the range and quality of services we provide to our members and of ensuring that our credit union remains current with the

technological advances taking place in the financial landscape of Grenada,” he declared, with a pause as if to ensure the statement was fully grasped. He said the event also represented “a major investment in knowledge and ideas”, drawn from the experiences of “those who have been there before us.” He suggested that the Communal is not risk

averse and is “very receptive to change the way we do business,” once it is for the benefit of the members of the organization. He joined other speakers to compliment the fact that the implementation of “such a major investment” resulted from the collaboration of “our own brothers and sisters here at home and abroad.” “As Chairman of the Board of Directors of Communal, I now feel comfortable that all

He reported on his personal interaction with the card and came to the concluded “I felt good knowing that all my transactions were carried out without problems. I was so happy that I held the card in my hand, looked at it again and satisfied myself that indeed it was a Communal Card that I was using. Ladies and gentlemen, I felt good and it feels good.” “I am more convinced that we at Communal have been doing something good for our members and our people,” he declared, inviting the media to “prepare a sound report as you spread the good news throughout the Nation that Communal, working closely with Coop bank, 4Cs and the Public Service Credit Union has now launched its international debit card, so that anyone hearing you would be encouraged to join and become part of this new and rich experience.”


BARNACLE MAY 2014 15.

www.barnaclegrenada.com

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

Moses: Co-operatives significant players in the development of ‘our small countries’ The first Grenadian to be elected President of the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Union, Aaron Moses has urged regional governments and policy makers to revisit the co-operative model as a significant player in the development of “our small countries.” “It has proven its relevance, particularly in difficult economic times,” Moses declared as he addressed the launch of the Communal Cooperative Credit Union’s ConneX International Debit Card on April 15th at the Trade Center Annex in Grand Anse. Moses told attendees co-operatives should not be seen as “only the preserve of small developing countries,” since it forms “a very integral pillar of the developed world.” “I want to suggest that building on the successes, building on the relevance of the co-operative model as policy makers, as customers, as Grenadians, we need to revisit the co-operative model,” he reiterated, quoting the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon as saying that the co-operative model reminds the world that it is possible to achieve economic viability and at the same time social responsibility.” “And that is what makes co-operatives unique because it puts people at the center of development. It has demonstrated its importance and relevance across the world,” he affirmed. He pointed out that cooperatives the world over has an asset base

members of the CCCU governing body

Aaron Moses , President of the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Union

of over US $5Billion and is a major contributor to the development of the world economy, arguing that the co-operatives model is a vehicle that could drive economic transformation in a challenging environment. “And its time that our policy makers and all of us revisit the cooperative development model. Many of us do not understand or appreciate the role of cooperatives and many think that cooperatives are limited to small people, small things. I want to remind you today that there is just over one billion members of the world’s population in co-operatives” he said. Recognising the collaborative process that led to the launching of the Communal Service, Moses noted the success that resulted from working together

and welcomed the Communal’s “eventual bold step” to expand into products and services that “meet and exceed the expectations of your members.” The President of the Caribbean Conference of Credit Unions outlined benefits of the Cooperative movement which represents 353 credit unions, spread across 17 countries, with a membership of 2.1 Million and an asset base approximating US $5Billion. He outlined the three strategic imperatives pursued by the regional body for the growth and development of the movement. The influencing and shaping of an enabling environment, where economic, social and political conditions favor the growth, development

and sustainability of credit unions the pursuit of initiatives aimed at building confidence in the credit union movement. Deepening the understanding and appreciation within communities of what credit unionism is and educating the public to recognize that the credit union is a first choice provider of financial services, particularly for the poor, the marginalized and the indigent and pursuing a robust programme of development, incorporating processes, procedures, products and services designed to meet the needs of members and ensuring sustainability of the movement. “It is this third strategic imperative that today’s event, from our perspective, is extremely important. For what Communal is doing today attempts and coincides with that very strategic imperative of bringing cutting edge services to our broadbased membership and in so doing enhancing their lives,” he said.

Moses also praised the “collaboration of three important institutions;” the Co-operative Bank, Communal and the Caribbean Credit Card Corporation in the achievement. “The power of co-operation is at the core philosophy of credit unions and cooperatives,” he declared. He suggested that one billion, of the world’s 7 billion people are members of cooperatives, with the sector responsible for the employment of over 100 million persons, representing 20% more people than multi national corporations together, employ. In a fact filled presentation, noticeable without a script, Moses said placed the number of cooperatives in the United States at 29,000, with 1 in 4 members of the population in the US and Germany registered as a member of a cooperative. In Canada 4 out of 10 are members of a cooperative and

in Japan the figure, as represented by the Caribbean Confederation as 1 in 3.

He disclosed that in Poland 65% of all dairy products are done by co-operatives, while most of the region’s dairy imports from New Zealand, are produced by members of cooperatives. “Co-operatives span the entire spectrum of industries. They are in the financial sector as credit unions, they are into energy, electricity generation, shipping, farming, virtually every sector of the world there are cooperatives. It is within that milieu that we need to recognize the importance of the strategic alliance that has resulted in today’s event” Moses said.

He congratulated the CCCU for the achievement and expressed the hope that the product will “continue to enhance the lives of your membership as they seek to achieve their individual and family goals.”


16 BARNACLE MAY 2014

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

ANDALL: WE MUST SWIM TOGETHER OR SINK APART CONNEX brand is the relationship among indigenous organizations “through which we seek to provide members and customers with access to electronic-financial transactions.” “The spirit of a man will overcome his infirmities,” declared Lucia Livingston-Andall, General Manager of the Grenada Public Service Co-operative Credit Union, as she stood in support of the Communal Cooperative Credit Union as it launched its Communal ConneX International Debit Card. With that opening statement, Mrs. Livingston-Andall began to chronicle the challenges and parallel the achievements of the successful Grenada Swim team at a regional swimming competition in St. Lucia with the launch of the new CCCU product. With participants coming from Trinidad and Tobago, St.Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua, Barbados, Grenada and

host country St. Lucia, Mrs. Andall observed that “in most, if not all of these countries, the swimmers practiced in facilities that were far superior to that of our Good Hope Pool.” “Despite our infirmity of having the most inadequate facilities, the Grenfin Swim club of Grenada came out the champions over the weekend and Grenada has been consistently winning the OECS Swimming Championships except for a few breaks over the last ten years! They were determined to cooperate, collaborate and win,” she pedantically enunciated. It is within that context that the General Manager of the PSCCU told the impressive CCCU ConneX IDC launch ceremony that the new product is the result of “an

understanding that collectively we are stronger! that together we can achieve more than the sum of us working apart! that individually we might be infirmed but through a resolute and cooperative spirit we can overcome the infirmities that restrict us.”

“Today we cannot say this is where the world is headed but rather this is where the world is and that is what our members and customers are demanding,” she said, outlining areas in which products and services were introduced to market through a vision and strategy for sharing with “our sister organizations locally and within the region.”

She explained that the CONNEX brand is the relationship among indigenous organizations “through which we seek to provide members and customers with access to electronic-financial transactions.”

She noted that the institutions represented at the launch all had the word “co-operative” in their names, except the Caribbean Credit Card Corporation, which she humorously changed to the Caribbean Credit Card Co-operative, in light of the organization’s “concept and spirit of cooperation.” The GPSCCU Representative recognized that investment in technology is not cheap and based on available resources “or lack thereof” the

organization and others to respond to the demands of customers and they become more sophisticated and technologically aware.

“We therefore have little choice but to operate at this level,” she affirmed.

MRS. LUCIA LIVINGSTON-ANDALL, GENERAL MANAGER - GRENADA PUBLIC SERVICE CO-OPERATIVE CREDIT UNION

prospects for investment of time, intellect and finances seem daunting.

However Mrs. Livingston Andall championed the need for her

“Let us not let the next generation fault us. Let us work together and harness the bright technologically savvy minds of the young people in our employ through the mechanism of CONNEX to further develop our institutions, country and region,” Mrs. Livingston ended, to sustained applause.


BARNACLE MAY 2014 17.

www.barnaclegrenada.com

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

CCCU GOES GLOBAL Communal moving with the changing marketplace and technology

lennox andrews, general manager - communal co-operative credit union (CENTER) FLANKED BY members of the communal staff

CCCU ANDREWS, thank you for talking to the Barnacle. Why did you choose this time to launch your COMMUNAL CONNEX International Debit Card? It’s a process that started in March 2012. We planned to have the card ready by December 2013 as we indicated to our members in our last annual general meeting but we had some delays in the process and so it

all culminated on April 15th. How do you see the card functioning at a time when the economy is strapped for cash and people seem to be tightening their belts?

use the card. It is simply a medium to facilitate that spending when the need arises. It makes the spending condition more convenient rather than developing in persons, a desire to spend more than they should.

The fundamental issue of the card is convenience. If there is a need for you to spend, if you have a pressing demand and you have the money to pay for that demand, then you’ll

I’m happy that you explained it that way because the general consensus about credit union is about thrift. Now you’re saying that the way forward for the credit union is not thrift

alone but convenience by having this card to be able to use it when you so need. While there are some basic elements that should characterise the credit union movement, the credit union has to recognise that it has to move with change. It can’t remain and hold on to the basic elements at all costs without recognising that there is need to make those elements

contemporary and what we are trying to do is to take the basic elements of a credit union and make it contemporary. We are enhancing and developing on the basic ideas but the essence remains the same it’s just manifesting itself in the way it should, given the current financial and economic environment. What are the many benefits that would be derived for the Communal and for the

movement by being able to keep up with technology as in this case, the debit card?

Our members are the essence of our existence. Our job is to respond to the needs and the everchanging demands of our members, who have been asking for the debit card. Their view is that the credit union, as a financial institution, must Continues on the next page


18 BARNACLE MAY 2014

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement within the market?

from page 17

remain relevant and for them to continue to be credit union members, the credit union must itself, must be able to compete with other financial institutions in the services they provide. So the convenience that persons who bank with commercial banks get must also be made available to credit union members or else the credit union members would not remain in the credit union. They will go where the convenience is more readily available. We must find ways of offering the latest technology that is available in the financial sector. The credit union must have those technologies available for its members. In the jostle for market share, where does this credit card put the Communal? The availability of the Communal Card provides us with a competitive edge. There is nothing that other financial institutions can do that we are not doing. So in a sense the market is becoming more perfect. We have a large number of producers, a large number of suppliers. Each one is not sufficiently large to influence market conditions. To the extent that the Communal Credit Union and other credit unions are able to provide similar services like other financial institutions, then we are making the market more perfect, which is the best market for business separation in any economy.

We can only be distinguished to the extent to which we are seen as an active player in the market, seeking to have a competitive edge based not just on providing the card itself but together with the card, providing a particular service that is different and that is unique and that is not available elsewhere. That’s the kind of service that we want to provide. Communal members are proud people. How do you see this impacting on the overall membership?

communal members were on hand to witness the launch of the much anticipated debit card

be happy today to know that they, the founders, can provide their present membership with a gift of an international debit card, which is a reflection of the changing tastes and preference that are now taking place in the current financial environment. And I think that they would be happy, if they were here with us, to receive the service as a gift. I know you said that this year you’re living the dream of your founding fathers. What is this dream?

The dream is basically the dream of our credit union movement, of all credit unions. That is, to improve the lives of our people, of our members and we do so in whatever way we can. We bring economic and financial benefits. We upgrade their living standards. We allow them to become more economically independent and financially strong. The dream is also to create a movement that can serve as a model of economic development for other regions. Unlike capitalism, unlike

You are very passionate about the things that you do. You are passionate about achieving greatness and so on, but where does this achievement of having the card fit into all of the high points of the credit union and in your case, since you’ve been here, where does it fit? Well it’s part of the

dream. I mean, it fits within our long-term plan, our long-term goal, our strategy of providing our members with goods and services that they need to satisfy their utility. And that’s the dream. The rule of our institution is really and truly that of meeting the demands of our members, serving our members. And serving our members simply mean being able to provide them with the range of goods and services that they require to satisfy their utility. What does that mean for you? It means a sense of happiness, fulfilment, that I am part of a drive and a system, that brings happiness to people, our members. So, what it means for me is simply the happiness that I see being manifested in others, that makes me happy and that says to me, I am part of something good, yea, that brings joy and happiness to others and it’s nice to be part of it.

I know this is your 50th year. Is this your Happy Birthday gift to your members? It is more a gift to our founders. I would want to think that 50 years ago, our founders who sat somewhere on top of Market Hill and made the decision to formulate and to create the Communal would

socialism, that model must be ‘creditunionism’. That model is based on members helping members. That dream still remains.

ladies are strong supporters of the cccu

The basic tenet of the credit union movement is understood, but how does this card help you distinguish yourself

It will help us, firstly, to keep our membership. So our members will be happy to know that they have the same facilities like any other financial institutions available to them. They would boast about it as an element of satisfaction, as an element of achievement and in a way that says something good has happened that brings satisfaction and happiness to them. In so doing, their words would resonate, others would hear and would want to become part> They would want the same experience that our members are having now. Finally, what are your expectations for the card, and what are its implications for the growth in the company? I see the card as an instrument that we are going to use to build the credit union, to expand our membership at home and more so in the international market. It will help us to attract membership from the international market because it will allow our members, wherever they may be, to have access to their resources right here in Grenada. In short it allows to be global in our operations, which is what the world is all about. So we are part of the globalised world and that card is our standard bearer.


www.barnaclegrenada.com

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

BARNACLE MAY 2014 19.

Duncan: Collaborate where we must and we compete where we have to Co-op Bank sharing technologies so others can succeed and win Richard Duncan, Managing Director, Grenada Co-operative Bank, one of the island’s leading financial institutions and only remaining indigenous bank, has expressed the view that the success of indigenous organizations can only be found in their ability to work together. Addressing the launch ceremony of the Communal Co-operative Credit Union’s (CCCU) International Debit Card on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 the former Permanent Secretary in Grenada’s Ministry of Finance said greater collaboration among small indigenous financial institutions is an essential requirement if success is to be achieved.

we have mastered in the financial services industry to ensure that we collaborate, we cooperate, we succeed and we win. We collaborate where we must and we compete where we have to,” he stated.

“I know at times we believe that our individual institution is big, we are large, but I keep reminding members of my team that the size of our bank, about EC $600M is what some people spend for lunch, entertaining their friends in some parts of the world, that’s the reality, we are not big,” the GCB General Manager continued. RICHARD DUNCAN: COLLABORATION WOULD HELP US ALL SUCCEED IN THIS TECHNOLOGICAL AGE

Acknowledging that there is a need to compete in the economic space, the UWI Graduate in economics, urged his colleagues to “collaborate where we must and we compete where we have to” as he pledged to share the benefits of his institutions technological exploits with like-minded establishments. “We are indigenous. We are local. We know where our roots are and they run very deep. On that basis we are prepared to share with our sister institutions whatever technology, what ever strategy,

Duncan submitted to his audience that successful strategy formulation and execution takes time and talent as he congratulated “the success of CCCU”, the leadership, its President and its board, and General Manager, Mr. (Lennox) Andrews, for “having spotted the correctness of the strategy and having stuck to the execution of the project.” He reminded those present of the GCB’s philosophy that “collaboration would help us all succeed in this technological age,” reiterating his belief that we need to cooperate where we must and

the team that made the difference

Continues on the next page


20 BARNACLE MAY 2014

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

from page 17

compete where we have to. It is that collaboration, Duncan says that allowed at least two credit unions, CCCU and the PSCCU to provide ATM service available to their members without having to invest in physical plant, while utilizing the technology already available through the Bank, which now has 13 ATMs on the Connex Network, as far north as Hillsborough and Harvey Vale in Carriacou and as far south as the Maurice Bishop International Airport. Additionally, Duncan indicated that the card can be used at any of the

“many ConneX branded” point of sale machines spread across the island or “anywhere you see the VIAS or MasterCard logo.” “I always remind us that it is not by power or by might by the disciplined application of the mind that victory is won,” the author of the book walking the straight and narrow, told an appreciative audience. He said the Bank’s relationship with its customers and its dynamic view of the market place led to the conclusion that it was not enough to have a card that only allowed ATM access but it had t move one level higher to an international debit card that allowed customers

to go directly to the supermarket and online to shop. “So Communal, you are in good hands the service is highly recommended,” he confirmed to his opposite number at the CCCU, General Manager Lennox Andrews. Duncan said his own experiences show that customers appreciate convenience and are “sufficiently savvy” to make good use of it. “When we believe that people do not understand the technology and its use, we are deluding ourselves,” he said, cautioning the need for continued vigilance and the observance of the safety requirements that

are necessary for the safe use of “plastic”. Answering questions about the ability of customers to have international access, Duncan, with a beaming smile declared, “the card works beautifully, online and with any point of sale merchant that you find anywhere in the world.” He offered additional benefits to users of the card, including the payment of government taxes, through the public sector e-tax services, and settling utility bills. ”You save time, you save stress and you have to make use of your time and enjoy a better quality of life,” hr reminded. The General Manager of the Grenada Cooperative

Bank praised the team that over saw the launch of the Communal Cooperative Credit Union’s ConneX International Debit Card. Among them were Shirla Fields, Ayana Wilson, Karina Tyson, and Antonia Baptiste from CCCU. Kimalyn Regis, Linus Walker and Randy Frank from PSCCU and Garvin Baptiste, Erica Hosten, Shaun Slinger, Danny Williams, Rhea Mc Leish of the Grenada Cooperative Bank and there was still one individual who he singled out for outstanding leadership. “Several of us were trained by the Caribbean Development Bank in Project Management in the 80’s. Several of

us practice what we think is excellent project management. I wish to submit to you and I say without fear of contradiction that first among equals in the craft of Project Management is Peter Antoine who has led this project successfully second time now,” he pronounced. At the end of a discourse that emphasized the message of ‘success through cooperation’, Duncan recognized that, as fate would have it, many of the “collaborators” had a foundation in the public service and specifically in the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Trade, including the Minister of Cooperatives. “So there is special significance in that,” he quipped.


www.barnaclegrenada.com

News The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

BARNACLE MAY 2014 21.

COMMUNAL CO-OP CREDIT UNION MORTGAGE FREE Francois: We at Communal are doing something right

According to the Chairman, the building which once served as the headquarters of the CCCU on Herbert Blaize Street was now the subject of a “long term lease” by a credible tenant and has become a revenue stream for the institution. A position referred to by General Manager Lennox Andrews as “the icing on the cake.”

“All our properties are now free hold,” was the declaration made by the Chairman of the Communal Cooperative Credit Union (CCCU) Michael Francois as he addressed more than 200 members attending the institution’s 32nd Annual General Meeting, at the GBSS auditorium on Saturday.

Additionally, Francois outlined the recent launch of the Communal ConneX International Debit Card, as one of the major achievements of the institution with more than 150 members already using the service with many others applying for the Card.

According to Francois the CCCU used part of the proceeds earned from the sale last year of some mortgages to the Eastern Caribbean Home Mortgage Bank (ECHMB) “to totally repay” a long term loan with the Barclays First Caribbean International Bank. Rapturous applause erupted, as Francois repeated the statement, adding, “I am sure that when you read our Annual Report you would have come to the conclusion that we at

Communal are doing something right.”

“I already have mine and I must say to you that it is a very convenient way of doing business. It takes less than one Michael Francois, chairman of the cccu

continues on the next page


22 BARNACLE MAY 2014

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

COMMUNAL CO-OP CREDIT UNION MORTGAGE FREE Lennox Andrews, suggested that the management team is looking into the possibility of increasing dividends from the current 2%, but was being hampered by an 11% delinquency rate in its loan portfolio.

from page 21

week to get your card,” he announced as a\ two members of staff accepted applications on the floor of the AGM. He said many members of the CCCU have taken advantage of an agreement with three local insurance companies to provide lower insurance payments for all members with property mortgages. However he encouraged those who “have not done so to please do so when next your property insurance becomes due.” “This is one the measures we have implemented to allow our members to cushion the negative effects of the economic crisis. And with the introduction of new income taxes in 2014, we have already restructured and consolidated many of your loans to ensure that you meet your financial commitments with us on time,” Francois assured. The CCCU team

“We need to address that issue and we encourage our members to keep their commitment to paying their loans,” he said to the meeting that also saw a changing of the constitution of the Board of Directors.

informed its membership of activities planned to commemorate the 50th anniversary (Golden Jubilee) of the CCCU, under the theme “Living the Dreams of our Founders”.

Day at all branches, the production of a Booklet on the Communal’s history and an Event to recognize persons and institutions who over the years “contributed tremendously” to its development.

Among them are: a Rhum Runner Boat Cruise, an Appreciation

“The economic crisis that started in 2008 is still with us today and

former headquarters on h.a. blaize street

we need to continue to take careful and objective decision in charting the way forward for our credit union. You can take comfort that we have a Board of Directors and other Committee members fully committed to the growth and sustainability of our institution and with

the internal controls in place, management will oversee the smooth running and operations of our institution,” he promised. Responding to the good news which prompted questions of increased dividends from the audience, CCCU General Manager

Vice President Isaac Bhagwan and Treasurer Philbert Lewis attended their final AGM as members of the Board after serving two-three year terms and were replaced by Ms Claudia Alexis and Mr. Jusceno Jacob. Additionally Pearl Doughlin and Jonathan Thompson, who both served on the CCCU’s Supervisory Committee, retired following the AGM. They were replaced by Mr. David Bruno and Mr. Devon La Touche.

Cutting THE ribbon to declare the new headquarters on halifax street open


www.barnaclegrenada.com

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

BARNACLE MAY 2014 23.

Introducing The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Visa® International Debit Card With Connex® Experience General Manager’s Message

Congratulations on having received your Communal’s VISA ® International Debit Card. We are indeed delighted to make this new product available to you. It represents a major step in modernizing the way we do business and serve you. This Card is branded as the “Connex ® Experience” and is the product of our collaboration with the Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited. With this card you can access your cash in Communal at anytime and anywhere in the world where the VISA sign is seen.

In this package, information is shared on the usage, benefits and personal management of your card. There are some specific tips on how to keep your card safe and secure. Please read that information carefully. Feel free to use your card when depositing or withdrawing from your account and for shopping online. And please do not forget to share your experience with us. We thank you for being part of the Connex ® Experience. Lennox J Andrews General Manager


24 BARNACLE MAY 2014

BARNACLE MAY 2014 25.

www.barnaclegrenada.com

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

Benefits of the Communal Visa® International Debit Card What is the Connex Experience? This CONNEX ® Experience enables our members to receive quality service and reduced fees once used within the CONNEX network. This is a shared network of ATM and POS (Point-of-Sale) devices with indigenous institutions such as the Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited, the Grenada Public Service Co-operative Credit Union Ltd and the Communal Cooperative Credit Union Ltd.

Access to your cash anywhere, anyplace and anytime You can use the card to withdraw cash from any ATM or at any financial institution where the Visa® and Plus® marks are displayed. This includes making withdrawals at Co-op Bank and Public Service Co-operative Credit Union ATMs. You simply have to input your Personal Identification Number (PIN). This is the same Personal Identification Number (PIN) that you selected with the issuance of your new card.

Lost or Stolen Cards must be reported immediately It is your responsibility to safeguard your Communal Visa® International Debit Card. Therefore, in the event that it is lost or stolen, you should notify the Member Service Representative immediately, by telephone or in writing, so that we can block transactions from being authorized against your designated account. Emergency contact information for the MSR at home or abroad is provided on the reverse side of your Communal Visa® International Debit Card. Remember that transactions performed before you notify us of any issues or unauthorized usage will be considered valid.

You have the comfort of not having to walk around with excess cash. If you are travelling abroad, there is no need to purchase foreign currency or travelers’ cheques. The most you can withdraw with your card, in any one day is EC$2,500.00; or there can be no more than five (5) transactions per day at the ATM. At POS machines, your daily purchase limit is EC$5,000.00; or a maximum of ten (10) transactions. The available balance in your account at Communal is your spending limit. As a result you cannot spend more than what is in your account. Your picture identification must be presented when using your Communal Visa ® International Debit Card at any POS merchant. Don’t forget to sign the sales slip. A small fee is charged when the card is used at any POS merchant. This fee is minimal if the merchant displays the Connex mark.

Local and International Convenience The Communal VISA ® International Debit Card is accepted at all ATM’s in the Visa plus network and by over thirty million merchants worldwide. Merchants are also available locally.

Using, Protecting and Managing The Communal Visa International Debit Card

Payment is made to the merchant directly from your saving account at the Credit Union.

Features of the Communal VISA International Debit Card

At the Communal Co-operative Credit Union your money is secure and is accessible to you anywhere, anyplace and anytime.

Issuing Bank

Card # Expiry date

Visa Logo Type of Visa Card Magnetic Strip stores all information entered in the card

Name of customer

CVV: Card verification value (needed for online purchases

Visa dove hologram Signature panel: Cardholder signs here immediately upon receipt

Connex Logo: Look for this logo at merchants

PLUS is an interbank network that covers all VISA cards, as well as ATM cards issued by various banks worldwide.


26 BARNACLE MAY 2014

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

Things you should know

Safety Tips

• At the time of collecting your Communal Visa® International Debit Card from our Member Service Representative (MSR), you will have to decide on your own Personal Identification Number (PIN) and sign on the signature panel at the back of the card, in the presence of the MSR.

1. Be Observant Look around for any suspicious persons or activities near ATM machines. If you see anything that looks suspicious, use another machine or return later.

• Merchants will refuse to accept your card as a method of payment if it is presented unsigned, unless you can produce sufficient picture identification to satisfy the merchant that you are the legitimate cardholder. • As is expected, your PIN will allow you access to your funds via any Coop Bank or Public Service Teller Express ATM, the Connex® or Visa® Plus ® network. It is very important that you keep your PIN secure and confidential. REMEMBER: DO NOT DISCLOSE YOUR PIN TO ANYONE AT ANYTIME. • Also, as a safety precaution, you should not write your PIN on your Communal Visa® International Debit Card. Instead, you should make every attempt to memorize the PIN so as to reduce the need to record it on paper. In the event that you forget your PIN, please feel free to visit any of our Customer Service Representatives to select a new PIN.

2. Scan the Machine Before Inserting Card If you see something that looks unfamiliar on the machine, it could be part of an ATM scam. If it looks funny, use another ATM. 3. Keep Your PIN Number Secret from Everyone Never write down your Personal Identification Number (PIN) anywhere, especially on your Debit Card or on a note in your wallet or purse. If you suspect that someone knows your PIN, come to the Credit Union and have it changed. 4. Protect Your Card Protect your debit card in the same way you protect your cash, checks, or credit cards. Report lost or stolen cards immediately. 5. Review Sales Slip When using your debit card for purchases, review your sales slip before signing it and check to see if the correct amount has been filled in. Never sign a blank sales slip. 6. Don’t Leave Your Receipt Be sure to take your receipt or transaction record with you when you leave. 7. Ensure Your Card is Returned Make sure the merchant returns your card to you when your purchase transaction is completed. 8. Safeguard Your Cash Put your cash away quickly in your pocket, wallet or purse. Use caution when counting cash at the machine. 9. Read your statement when updated, so you can spot any irregularities and notify the credit union.

Fees and Charges All fees are subject to change in accordance with the Cardholder Agreement and may be obtained from any Member Service Representative at any time. The cardholder fees accompanying this document is in Eastern Caribbean Dollars (ECD).

Reconcile your Account Members may request a statement on demand by calling a Member Service Representative. A small fee may be applicable for a statement generated on demand. The statement details, inter alia, the merchant’s name and the value of the transactions allowing for easy reconciliation.

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. To grow with us, save with us. Head Office Halifax Street, St. George’s Tel# (473) 440-1755/435-4404 Fax# (473) 440-7545/435-7269

Gouyave Central Depradine Street, Gouyave, St. John’s Tel# (473) 437-1129 Fax# (473) 437-1129

Perdmontemps Perdmontemps, St. David’s Tel# (473) 440-4264 Fax#(473) 440-4264

Website: www.thecommunalcu.com Email: comcreditunion@thecommunalcu.com

Carriacou Church Street, Hillsborough, Carriacou Tel#(473) 443-6699 Fax#(473) 443-8993


www.barnaclegrenada.com

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

BARNACLE MAY 2014 27.

Profile on Communal Co-operative Credit Union

About Us The Communal Co-operative Credit Union is a financial co-operative founded in November 1964 and registered on October 19, 1965 with a membership of 100 and savings of approximately five hundred ($500) dollars under the name of the St. George’s Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Its aim is to provide and avenue to receive its member’s savings and make loans to them for provident and productive purposes at reasonable rates of interest. Some of the founding members were Rodney V. Mauricette, Eric Padmore, Albert LaTouche, Cynthia Steele, Martin Abraham, Kathleen A.Nedd and Joslyn (Sparrow) Hayling.

At the first annual general meeting Messrs Mauricette, Padmore and Mrs Steele were elected to the Board of Directors. Mr. Rodney V. Mauricette was elected President of The Communal at the first Board of Directors meeting, a position he held until 1993, when he retired and was succeeded by Dr Guido Marcelle. Mr. Edwin Thomas was elected President in 1996. He was succeeded by Mr. L. Simeon Collins whose term ended in 2002 when the first woman to sit at the helm of any Credit Union in Grenada, was elected President. Miss Lydia Courtney become the first woman to sit as President of The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Mr. Julien Ogilvie was elected President in 2004 and was succeeded by Mr. Isaac Bhagwan in 2009 whose term ended in

2012. Mr. Michael Francois was elected in Present in 2012 until Present.

Overview What is the CCU? The Communal Co-operative Credit Union has been in existence since 1964. It is a nonprofit organization established for providing a safe place for its members to save money and access loans as reasonable rates. The members are the owners of the Credit Union, each member as an owner has all the rights and privileges regardless of his/her share holdings. With the continued growth of the Communal, we have over the last number of years established branches at Carriacou, Gouyave in St. John’s,

Perdmontemps in St. David’s. Our head office is located at Halifax Street, St. George’s. Organisation Consist of The Board of Directors, Supervisory Committee and Credit Committee elected by members at the at the Annual General Meeting. Each member has one (1) vote irrespective of the number of shares he or she owns. The Board of Directors guided by the Cooperative Societies Act and its own Bye-laws establishes policies and guidelines for the proper functioning of the Credit Union. The functions of the Supervisory and Credit Committees are outlined in the Bye-laws. continues on the next page


28 BARNACLE MAY 2014

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement


BARNACLE MAY 2014 29.

www.barnaclegrenada.com

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

Credit Card Executive urges Grenadians to shop where you know Initially we saw some resistance to the movement away from cash to electronic payments. I would say now, as the younger generation begins to adapt to the new environmental realities, there is a greater demand for it.

Jessel Gadsby General Manager of the St. Kitts based Caribbean Credit Card Corporation takes questions from the media

Jessel Gadsby – General Manager of the St.Kitts based Caribbean Credit Card Corporation (4Cs), was in Grenada to participate in the launch of the Communal Cooperative Credit Union’s (CCCU) debit card service. The BARNACLE took the opportunity to speak with Mr. Gadsby about a range of matters surrounding the provision of Card services across the region, including the security arrangements for the Credit/Debit Card industry and its effects on end users. The following is the full interview. Thank you Mr. Gadsby for talking to us. The launch of the CCCU Card Service utilizing the 4C’s platform must be a proud moment for your corporation. Give us some background to

that relationship. About 71/2 years ago the board of Directors of the Caribbean Credit Card Corporation together with its key shareholders held a strategic meeting to determine the company’s future and to see what opportunities were available for growth and development, not only for the company’s sake but to enhance our overall mission which is to strengthen the profitability and operational capacity of members institutions, all of which are indigenous to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. In looking around we have recognized, through the guidance of the Grenada Co-operative Bank, that Credit Unions are a substantial part of the indigenous financial services community that were largely underserved by companies such as ours in the electronic

payment industry. What has been the response of the Credit Unions? From that point to this we have 5 credit unions as members. We have the two here in Grenada, in St. Kitts and Nevis and in Dominica. We are working with others to further the process. The banks, especially the indigenous banks, all recognize that we serve a common interest which is to build the capacity of the region, for the region. Those views and the overall objectives of the banks are in line with the spirit and the goals of the credit unions. How is your Corporation assisting the change in mindset from cash to electronic payment systems? Initially we saw some resistance to the movement away from cash to electronic payments. I would say now, as the younger generation begins

to adapt to the new environmental realities, there is a greater demand for it because of the payment requirements associated with travel where a credit card is part of the payment structure for renting a car or booking hotel rooms. The other great contributor is the desire for online shopping. The desire to purchase goods from any of the large retailers online necessitates the need for some kind of online payment facility. Those have been demand driven. We have seen an increase in the security apparatus surrounding card services. Do you think this has a role to play in improving people’s confidence in the use of these facilities? Yes, I think over time people have recognized that the incidences of fraud, identity theft and the incidences of transactions appearing on your statements that you know nothing about,

have been very few and far between. As security measures increase those instances have been less and less. It does not mean that people should be less vigilant, because vigilance is very important, but I think it means that those factors have helped to improve confidence. In addition the banks have place a lot more measures in place so that your plastic appears as a very simple device but there is a lot of technology and operational support and security behind that so that the benefits of it and your use of it is as secure as possible. How do we bridge the gap where there is a fear among the older generations who are very worried about putting card information online? Let me say there are some concerns and the banks and credit unions will provide some directions from time to time to customers. First of all, shop where you

know. If you are familiar with an online service such as Amazon, then shop there. There is a security image that is placed in the bottom right hand corner of the webpage that has always been a measure of safety for us. There was some issues raised about it, but once anything is discovered, the process is immediately upgraded to eliminate or reduce any risks or breach to the customer experience. And as I mentioned, be vigilant. Look at your statements once they arrive to make sure what is there represents the transactions you have undertaken.

Beyond the customers own involvement what other steps are taken by the service provider to curb these risks? There are several steps that are taken in the background including our process of verifying with the customer that they are aware of any unusual activity on their account. For example if there is an unusually large expenditure on a customer’s card, we will call that customer to ensure they made the purchase or that the merchant making the transaction is a genuine merchant. And that reduced incidences of fraud. How is the Caribbean Card Corporation adapting to the challenges posed by fraud and fraudsters, given the very dynamic and changing face of the market? We have adopted the international tools that are required to do an effective job. We have fraud monitoring tools and we have subscribed to fraud monitoring programmes.


30 BARNACLE MAY 2014


www.barnaclegrenada.com

BARNACLE MAY 2014 31.


32 BARNACLE MAY 2014

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

Communal records improved financial performance for 2013

Supervisory Committee: Jonathan Thompson, Stephany Gordon, Pearl Doughlin, Dawn Walker and Lescott Charles

The Communal Cooperative Credit Union CCCU, has experienced an improved financial performance and an increase in membership in 2013 over the pervious year. According to the institution’s Annual Report, 2013 was a “difficult year” with net income 3.2% above 2012, due mainly to a 77% increase in interest from financial assets and a 4% growth in interest from members’ loans. The CCCU Annual Report indicates that after transfers to the statutory reserves and development fund, the net surplus was EC $128,328, well above the previous years figures of EC $36,978. Additionally, the CCCU’s audited statements indicate a 12.9% growth in total assets at the end of December 2013 compared to the previous year. More that 1700 new accounts were opened in 2013, 326 or 8% more than in 2012, following the CCCU’s relocation of it headquarters from Herbet Blaize Street

to Halifax street. The Institution closed 2013 with 18,542 members on its books reflecting an average growth of 8.0% since 2009, with its greatest concentration of its members (51.3%) in St. George’s. Communal, utilizing the services offered by the Grenada Consulate in Canada, continued to take steps to increase its membership by developing relationships with Grenadian groups and organizations in Canada, particularly, in Toronto. Currently 8.5% of its membership resides in North America. The Credit Union also formed strategic relationships with three insurance companies to provide group property insurance during 2013, resulting in “substantial savings through lower insurance premiums being paid by those members.” The Communal loan portfolio reflected that 31% of its undertakings were for house related expenditure, 24% to refinancing with personal expenses at 9.45% as the next highest allocation.

The CCCU is projecting another growth year in 2014, with a budget surplus of EC $400,012. In its projections, the Communal is seeking to enhance its growth prospects and further expand its membership in 2014 with increased investments in financial assets that “are safe but give high returns”.

MEMBERS OF THE Credit Committee: Ruth Jerome, Theresa Notel, Mrs. Marcia Baptiste, Grace-Ann Neptune & kellon john

Under the theme ‘Living the Dreams of our Founders,’ the institution is focused on celebrations for its 50th anniversary in

2014, with a plan to recognize persons who have contributed to the growth and development of the Communal. “Their work would have

laid the basis for our achievement to date and for the sustainability of our institution,” the report said.


www.barnaclegrenada.com

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

BARNACLE MAY 2014 33.


34 BARNACLE MAY 2014

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement


www.barnaclegrenada.com

BARNACLE MAY 2014 35.


36 BARNACLE MAY 2014


www.barnaclegrenada.com

The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Supplement

BARNACLE MAY 2014 37.


38 BARNACLE MAY 2014


BARNACLE MAY 2014 39.

www.barnaclegrenada.com

Profile

LECTURERS ASSOCIATION OF T.A MARRYSHOW COMMUNITY COLLEGE INC. The Lecturers Association (TLA) of T. A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) was registered on January 22, 2014. Its mission is to build synergistic relationship among TAMCC’s lecturers, administration staff and the general public through effective communication, cooperation and responsibilities. TAMCC is Grenada’s only home-grown tertiary institution, and grew out of an amalgamation of The Grenada Teachers’ College, The Grenada Technical and Vocational Institute, The Institute for Further Education, The National Institute of Handicraft, The Mirabeau Agricultural Training School, The Domestic Arts Institute, and The Continuing Education Programme. The College was established on July 1, 1988, and was then called Grenada National College. The TAMCC is an institution of diverse talents and skills, and provides outstanding service in many areas of study. One very important element of TAMCC is the dedication of its lecturers who continue to give selflessly, amidst severe challenges of many kinds. The Lecturers’ Association therefore, is a necessity. It seeks to strengthen communication between lecturers and other stakeholders, to develop professional growth of lecturers through research and publication, to engage in more organized community service, and to create advocacy for lecturers. The Lecturers’ Association is deeply committed to providing accessible, quality education and training for all.

Adunni A Johnson

Oliver Dragon

Antonia Cadore, Calliste

Kenrick McSween

Laurie Calliste

Victor S.D Philip

Denny A. Pierre

Lisa Francis Charles

Walt Orson Williams

Education: LIC. Accounting. B.Sc., M.Sc. Areas: Accounting and Financing Lecturer: TAMCC Position: President

Education: ACCA Area: Accounting and Financing Lecturer: TAMCC Position: Treasurer

Education: CHSEP, B.Sc., M.A. Areas: Caribbean Studies and Critical Thinking Assistant Lecturer: TAMCC Position: Rep SAAT (School of Applied Arts and Technology)

Education: B.Sc. Hon. Biology, Mphi Natural Resource Area: Environmental Science Lecturer: TAMCC Position: Vice President

Education: LIC. Economics Area: Economics and Accounting Lecturer: TAMCC

Education: B.Sc., M.Ed. Area: Business Lecturer: TAMCC Position: Rep SCE (School of Continuing Education)

Education: B.A., M.A. Area: Sociology, Social Science Lecturer: TAMCC Position: Secretary

Education: B.Eng. HON Area: Electronics and Communication Assistant Lecturer: TAMCC Position: Public Relation Officer

Education: B.Sc. Area: Sociology & Psychology Lecturer: TAMCC Position: Rep (Carriacou Six roads campus)


40 BARNACLE MAY 2014

News

PUMP IT UP

“More than 3000 persons turned out to “pump it up” as the Grenada Cooperative Bank staged its fun walk as part of the bank’s 2014 annual Healthier Lifestyles Initiative on Sunday May 4th, 2014.   Dress in their blue spruce “Pump It Up” Teeshirts, the large group, of all ages and social standing, left the Morne Rouge Playing Field at 4.00pm, after a 15 minute warm-up.   “This is more than just a fun walk for us. It’s an investment in a healthy nation, a fit workforce and a better quality of life for our customers and the participants. When people are healthy they take

SPICE ISLAND BEACH RESORT: ONGOING EXCELLENCE of the property began in 1969 with the addition of 10 private suites, moving the rooms stock to 30 from the original 20 beach suites, purchased by himself and a group of investors, including Peter Ottley and Dennis Love that same year.

sir. royston hopkin Managing Director of the Spice Island Beach Resort, Sir Royston Hopkin, has issued invitations to members of the local media to experience one night of all-inclusive accommodation at the Resort.

opportunities for self improvement, and Coop Bank is right there alongside them,” said the bank’s Marketing Officer, Erica Hosten, following the bank’s flagship event. The event began in 2009 with a health walk and grew to include a health extravaganza, which was first implemented in 2013 and is earmarked for every two years.   Mrs. Hosten said the programme, designed to increase awareness on health issues, encourage a proactive approach to personal healthcare and increase physical exercise, cuts across all boundaries and addresses issues that are common to all

citizens. She pointed out that the growing concern and focus by health authorities on non communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes makes the activity attractive to those who are already affected and those who are seeking to reduce the risk of being diagnosed with the diseases.   “This is really a family event that provides an opportunity for the youngest among us and the eldest to do something together, while at the same time benefiting from the physical activities that form part of the event,” she told Barnacle.      Mrs. Hosten said the

programme is also attractive because it supports other initiatives and organisations related to health. The 2014 “Pump It Up” event supported the Pink Ribbon Society which assists survivors of breast cancer and works to raise awareness of the disease. “What is interesting about the programme is that we do not promote competition but we do reward the eldest and youngest participant, or the largest group to be involved. Everyone participates at their own level and people appreciate that,” she said.   The Grenada Cooperative Bank is the island’s only indigenous bank.

The leading Grenadian hotelier hosted the media recently as part of his effort to help build the appreciation for the tourism product and to provide a first hand view of the multi-million dollar renovation and upgrading of the resort, which in 2004 was named the best resort in North America and the Caribbean by leading travel professionals Conde Naste/Johansens. “In this business where you are competing with the best of the best in the world, the worst thing is that you start to lose your shine. To get back to where you should be, would be the task of Hercules,” the Grenadian Hotelier said as he explained his decision to “always keep the product fresh.” The Hotelier of the year ruled out any suggestion that he took steps to upgrade his property because of his fear of losing market share to the recently arrived, Sandals La Source, indicating that he was part of a persistent lobby to get the Sandals group to invest in Grenada. “I have been upgrading the hotel every year,” he countered, pointing out that the expansion

In support of his declaration, the hotel provided a dossier which traced the development of the Spice Island Beach Resort, from its “extensive construction and refurbishment” between 1988 and 1991, when 7 private pool suites and 21 Whirlpool suites along with a conference room and other facilities were added. Another US $6M, according to the historic document was expended in 2000 to add 12 new rooms, a spa and new fitness center, a central swimming pool and two new Gatsby duty free boutiques, in addition to the renovation of areas of the original structure that was purchased in 1969. “You do not want your guests to tell you when its getting tired or when you need to upgrade. You must know that and as a hotelier, in this competitive environment, you always want to keep the wow factor,” he said, recognizing that his hotel is attracting “more up-market visitors and professionals”. His five-star property has been among the most awarded in the region and has attracted the most positive coverage in the international media by far, over the last decade by Grenada’s standards. One of his most recent accolades by Island Magazine’s ranked the resort among 15 of the world’s greatest escapes. The website, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, refer to the Spice Island Beach Resort as “a flawless paradise surrounded by eight acres of tropical gardens,….the perfect Caribbean retreat set on a stunningly beautiful beach….truly the stuff of dreams.”


BARNACLE MAY 2014 41.

www.barnaclegrenada.com

News

AMALGAMATE FOR MORE SUCCESS, RUSH

The nutmeg farmer also highlighted the fact that while the world demand required ground nutmeg product, Grenada was unable to benefit from that demand because of the short shelf life of the product. “90% of the nutmegs that we exported are milled before it is sold in packets. It will be good for us if we can grind it here and ship it, but it must be shipped immediately. We need to find the technology that would lengthen the life of the product, so that we can get the benefit from meeting some of that demand,” he said. He said there is an urgent need to bring the two bodies under one organization to reduce and in some cases eliminated waste that is coming from financing separate management, marketing and farmer support functions. “Right now we are duplicating so many things. If we amalgamate we will be saving a lot of money. This is my dream,” he said, arguing that such a decision “revolutionise” the industry and increase earnings to farmers and to treasury.

FARMERS SELLING NUTMEG AT THE GRENVILLE RECEIVING STATION

The Nutmeg industry should follow the example of its colleagues in the cocoa sector in the development of the sector, according to the Chairman of the Grenada Cocoa Association and member of the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Association (GCNA), Ramsey Rush. In an exclusive interview with the BARNACLE, Rush, a farmer, listed as one of his two dreams the identification of a strategic partner to work with the association to process nutmegs into a range of products and the amalgamation of the two associations to save

ramsey rush

He called for an attractive price to farmers who were being paid EC $0.40 per pound for the commodity in 2004.

costs and provide better services to farmers.

additive in the food and cosmetic industries.

“We need a joint venture with somebody who can bring the processing expertise, the knowledge and the marketing capability who can sell the finished product. We can do some processing because we used to make oil and ship to Europe but it was not profitable to us,” Rush told Barnacle.

He noted that at least two indigenous businesses are producing secondary products from nutmegs but he argues that an international partner is needed to increase the number of products that can be extracted from the commodity.

The St. Andrew resident also wants his colleague farmers to change their attitude towards workers by providing, in addition to their income, meals, especially breakfast prior to going to the fields.

“Right now we are selling to a middleman. We have no control of our market price and that is always a distress signal to me,” he said adamantly, reflecting many years of frustration over the industry’s fluctuating fortunes.

He argues that due to the economic realities young persons who are seeking employment are not able to meet the proper food requirements, which inhibits full production and affects returns to the farmer.

He said value added must mean the creation of finished products that have a market and not just the manufacturing of nutmeg oil, which is used as an


42 BARNACLE MAY 2014

News

NUTMEG: SEXY AND ATTRACTIVE? A new mindset and changes to archaic legislation are needed to transform the nutmeg sector into a more viable industry, with the ability to attract more foreign exchange into the national economy and bring more benefits to farmers, according two farmers and long standing Director of the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Association (GCNA), Dr. Reginald Buckmire.

“We have continued to market our nutmegs in ‘crocus’ bags, the same way since the industry started in 1947. In order to change it, the whole issue of marketing and sales must be modified,” he declared, adding that “we have never made the decision to go into a final processed product, which is where the money is.” “The act itself allows us to do some of the R&D

“The agent will not supply us with potential joint venture partners. We have to do it ourselves. We can convert nutmeg fat into high value creams and other products. The opportunities exist but we have to move it forward”, he said. Joseph on the other hand thinks Grenada lacks the technology that allows the processing of the commodity into a final product that can create its own space on the international market. He is encouraging a joint venture arrangement with a partner who has the technology, the knowledge and the market access that can move Grenada’s nutmeg industry in a different direction.

Buckmire, along with his colleague farmer and GCNA Director, Samuel Joseph, sat down with to an exclusive conversation with The Barnacle about the challenges affecting the industry and its future. He suggests that the 1947 Nutmeg Ordinance, which still governs the industry, coupled with a short sighted approach by the policy makers and a lack of “respect” for the introduction of research and development utilizing Science and Technology, into the multi million dollar industry, have maintained the status quo and affected its growth.

Buckmire indicated that his attempts to influence GCNA officials to engage “end users” while on a recent trip to meet their agents and middle men in Europe, were rebuffed.

DR. REGINAL BUCKMIRE

but unfortunately the board has never really made a serious decision to do the R&D”, Buckmire declared, suggesting that the Association is not making use of the potential products that come from the raw nutmeg, including nutmeg butter, shells and other chemicals, which can help to increase revenues to farmers, the GCNA and to the country. He hopes that an upcoming symposium on alternative ways of marketing and selling nutmegs’ will provide direction on the way forward, including the computerization of the GCNA to increase efficiency and give

He is also concerned about the emergence of India, which has larger acreage under cultivation, lower wages and greater levels of technology to underpin their nutmeg sector, as a significant player in an industry that has been dominated by Grenada and Indonesia for decades.

samuel joseph

appropriate retuned to farmers. “The reality is that sometimes there is as much as 100 - 200 pounds of nutmegs that farmers do not get compensated for because of the way the commodity is measured on purchase day at the receiving station,” Dr. Buckmire said. His colleague Samuel Joseph agrees with the pronouncements, himself suggesting that failure to undertake more R&D, including the introduction of solar drying facilities to reduce the 90 day drying time between purchase and processing of nutmegs is a “major weakness”.

value added. The two GCNA officials conformed that a pilot project involving the St. George’s University and Dr. Dirk Burckhardt, a solar specialist, was undertaken to introduce solar facilities into the nutmeg drying or “solar curing” process, which resulted in halving the drying time, however the decision by the GCNA to implement the new technology is awaiting a final report from the specialist. In what appeared to be a breaking with the ranks, both Joseph and Dr. Buckmire criticized the slow pace employed by their own organization, the GCNA, to “get into

More than 40 years after the formal organization of the industry the two GCNA officials point out that “one cannot depend on the fluctuations in the commodity market to exist. We must get into value to become a price maker, rather than a price taker.” He said its time that the GCNA looks into all the by products of the nutmeg, comprising the pods (Pericarp) and shells, to determine whether there is commercial value that can be exploited for local and international product lines.

“We need a joint venture initiative to add value to our raw material,” he said pointing to the fact that even in the production of nutmeg oil, the GCNA was forced to discard the “waste” which contained the fats and other chemicals that have a market in cosmetics, food and other areas of global production. With Grenada now facing, high unemployment, a structural adjustment programme and an even higher cost of living threshold, Buckmire believes that attention to the nutmeg sector can yield returns that will change the country’s fortunes in the medium


BARNACLE MAY 2014 43.

www.barnaclegrenada.com

News

must be accompanied by a new approach that provides support to the farmers through fertilizer, planting material, extension services, clearing lands and other incentives that will bring production back to the pre Ivan 2000 tons level.

The two men agreed that an approach to the island’s Ministry of Education for a national competition among schools, for one week, during the summer vacation period will help in the replanting of nutmegs. This, according to the GCNA representatives, will help to meet targets and bring the younger generation face to face with the industry that laid the foundation for the country’s development.

the future is now: GCNA’S solar unit in gouyave, st. john, is USED for drying nutmegs in less than eight weeks

term.

mentary,” he said.

The nutmeg is looked at as a high value added product that the income now where we get 20M can yield 100M very easily. As far as I am concerned we are sitting on Black Gold,” he declared, noting that there is room for further expansion.

He urged a “marriage” that allows the benefits of agriculture, particularly nutmeg to be tied to a “spice tourism” niche. The GCNA board member called for the

setting up of an investment company that allows local non-nutmeg producing businesses and organizations to put money into the development of the new nutmeg industry. “We must begin think-

He said there is significant interest in the development of the industry but called on the board to get serious about value added products and building relationships with other sectors of the economy, including tourism to multiply the effects and income into the economy. “We have several buildings that are still assets on our books but are not in use. These should be transformed into centers for spice products that can target the local population and the tourism industry. These two industries are compli-

ing about nutmegs as more than just a nutmeg seed. It must be seen as a series of nutmeg products such as creams, ice cream, cakes…products that can be used at home and exported,” he said, noting that while nutmeg brings in more

foreign exchange, cocoa, if handled properly in its new dispensation will leap frog the former in its impact on the local economy. For his part, Joseph says any plan to meet his colleagues projections

However, Buckmire agrees that a change in mindset among parents may also be necessary to achieve what is desired and necessary for the rebound of the industry, since the previous generation has turned away from agriculture as a successful business opportunity. He urged a change in the school curriculum to reflect the new realities. “We have to repent for the fact that we have as parents turned the minds of our children away from a sector that is the only answer for our small country in this new global environment,” he said.

“We must make nutmeg sexy and attractive to our young people so that they will take on the challenge to take it to the next level,” they both agreed.

a gcna farmer assorts nutmegs in grenville

BARNACLE COMMENT: The amazing realization, having spoken to four members of the Board of Directors of the GCNA is that their messages are all aligned. However, it appears that the will to change the process to achieve a desired outcome appears to be lacking, as the industry wallows in what appears to be its own complacency.


44 BARNACLE MAY 2014


BARNACLE MAY 2014 45.

www.barnaclegrenada.com

Business Profile

Parris Pharmacy Ltd. An institution in St. Andrew’s The people of St. Andrew are always admired by their fellow country folk for their enthusiastic demeanor, loyalty to their parish, love of life and the serious way they approach work. They are very proud of their infrastructure and institutions and have a rich history to draw upon. Certain institutions and their custodians stand out more than others and Parris Pharmacy can well be described as an institution in Grenville, not only because of its long history but also because of the standard it has set and continues to set. Parris Pharmacy was opened on August 20th 1926, in Grenville by a Mr. Harcourt Parris’ of Barbados. Mr. Emmanuel Buckmire, father of the present owners, Dr. Reginald, Dr. Francis Buckmire, Mr. Orlando Buckmire and Mr. Kenneth Buckmire, along with a Mr. Alfred Wells, worked with Harcourt Parris and trained under him. Parris’ had established three pharmacies under his name at Sauteurs, Town of St. George and Grenville and when he returned in the 1930s, sold out all his pharmacies. Buckmire and Wells bought over the St. Andrew’s brand and the Parris’ Pharmacy name and ran it for a while and 25 years ago the Buckmire’s bought out the interest of Albert Wells, and the Pharmacy is presently, run by the Buckmire family. The fact that Parris’ Pharmacy was established since 1926 in no way indicates that it is an archaic, back in time establishment. To the contrary, what we have here is a modern and advanced business that has retained many of its good old fashioned, services and products. Dr. Reginald Buckmire told Barnacle, that when his father passed on about 20 years ago, he and his brother took over the running of the pharmacy and sought to remodel it making it as modern as possible. After visiting several countries Reginald was

dr. reginald buckmire introduced to a professional pharmacy designer. The result of this meeting was the design called the four corners design system where customers entering the store must pass through the four corners to exit. “When we took over 25 years ago, our plan was to continue blending our old time medicine with the new pharmacy system. We continued to offer apothecary medicants while also offering the most modern medication. Parris’ Pharmacy now offers generics after extensive research in Canada, touring the facility of many companies. Dr. Buckmire said, We were very conservative, in purchasing specific medicines that are generic, but is just like the original stuff. He said, they continue to do what is called compounding, producing several ointments which are unique to their pharmacy and offers a series of medication which are required in veterinary medicine. Mr. Reginald admits modernizing and at the same time maintaining tradition was challenging but they have been able to do it by having their own formulary using books and formulae left by their father. The Buckmire brothers continue to monitor the British Pharmacopeias and acquaint themselves with the Eastern Caribbean Drug Service and the Barbados Drug Service. They continue to keep their old formulae while keeping

abreast of development in the government service and the Eastern Caribbean Drug Service.

its motto, which is to provide the best health care at the lowest possible cost to the consumer.

Parris’ Pharmacy is unique in the way it ensures that customers satisfaction, is maintained being modern for those on the cutting edge of technology and modernization while also being able to satisfy those customers who prefer the old fashioned way.

As a result, the Buckmires pride themselves on sourcing the best medicine at a very reasonable price even if it sometimes require them to bypass the local agent and go directly to buying agents in Europe and North America.

Dr. Reginald does have a serious concern about some areas of the industry that he has devoted his life to. His main concern is that doctors are now owning pharmacies. This he sees as a conflict of interest and I think most people would agree. Furthermore, that practice is not allowed in Barbados and other parts if the wider world. Why? This practice allows an avenue for doctors to encourage patients to purchase medications from their pharmacies possibly at high prices. Doctors can also prescribe medication, which their pharmacy has in stock, but may not be the best medication for the patient. This sad trend arising in Grenada of doctors owning pharmacies must be given serious attention said Mr. Reginald. There had to be a meeting to decide procedures and policies to ensure that this practice does not expand and to finally eliminate such a practice from the industry. The Buckmires are already looking at the future of health delivery especially in the pharmacy and seeing a debit card approach to deliveries. Therefore, when the entire operations, is totally computerized they will be considering the system where money is transferred from one account to another just by swiping a card in a machine. They are also looking at a data base program which will allow them to keep a comprehensive record of all customers and thereby be in a position to deliver the best possible health care to them. Parris’ Pharmacy operates strictly in accordance with

Dr. Reginald recalls the case of one supplier in Grenada upon realizing that the Buckmires were selling a particular product at half the price he supplied it, spreading a rumor, that the medications had been recalled, a rumor which proved false after thorough investigation. This was a devious tactic to protect the supplier’s ridiculously high price. He also remembers selling another product for $10.00 which another supplier was selling the same product for $126.00. Parris Pharmacy has three pharmacists who carry out a three point check before any item is sold to a consumer. The establishment has built such a reputation that people usually refer to them for advice and confirmation as to the quality or medicine which they have brought from another health care center. This rigorous and meticulous training has been the bastion of Parris’ Pharmacy since the days of Reginald and Kenneth’s father and they vow to keep it alive in his honor and in respect for the motto. Parris’ Pharmacy is one of the few original businesses still existing in Grenville and one of the reasons for continuing is to ensure that at least some businesses remain in the hands of Grenadians. Dr. Reginald said he has watched more and more of our nationals being sidelined as far as ownership of businesses is concerned. He said, “our passion to see our people remain in business motivates us to assist other pharmacies in training of pharmacists to enable them to operate their own business’.

It bothers Dr. Buckmire to see nationals giving up our own economic rights to other groups of people and this issue is becoming especially critical when considering CSME. This system he thinks, gives the advantage to large corporations like those in Trinidad and Barbados and if we are not careful those large organizations may effect hostile takeovers of the smaller less equipped operations here in Grenada. Our people ought to be prepared to accept the challenge and responsibilities of owning our business and charting our own destiny less we be relegated to hewer of woods and carriers of water. Parris’ Pharmacy has made its fair contribution to the community. In fact Mr. Emmanuel Buckmire and Alfred Wells actually assisted in starting the St. Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School, not liking the idea of sending the children to St. George’s for secondary education. The idea of establishing a secondary school in St, Andrew’s became a reality, offering secondary education to persons from St. Patrick, St. Andrew and St. David, who were not able to send their children to GBSS, AHS and St. Joseph Convent, St. George’s. The Buckmires, sponsored a primary school cricket competition in St. Andrew’s. A number of players in that competition have gone on to represent the West Indies at the under 19 level. The family was also very interested in seeing the Princess Alice Hospital being able to provide quality service for residents of St. Andrew’s as a community hospital. The politics of the time gave no support but, once again the drive is on, making serious representation to get the dialysis machine at that hospital to become operational. The Buckmire family has also set up from the surplus in their operations a fund called the E. U. Buckmire Memorial Science Fund, the objective of which is to assist second-

ary schools to be more involved in science. Dr. Reginald said, The aim is to empower our people to get involved in the practical aspect of science.

In the words of Dr. Reginald, it is very disturbing to see what has happened in St. Andrew. This parish used to be the bread basket, of Grenada, Nutmeg, Cocoa, Banana and other agricultural products were the bastions on which the economy, reside. The changes in the economic life of St. Andrew’s is caused by the demise of agriculture due to the serious disruption of the major productive estates like Paradise and Simon etc. This impacted especially on the earning and spending power of the citizens. As a result business places were seriously affected, this led to an influx of ex-patriots in Grenville who now trade in clothing, merchandise and disposable items.

Dr. Reginald doesn’t think there has been any real serious intervention in the development of St. Andrew’s by successive governments. Although there have been some private sector development it has been unplanned and ad hoe, he said, at a glance one can see the inequality and unfriendliness of the sidewalks. With regards to the flooding problem, Dr. Reginald explained, that this is due to the destruction of traditional drainage equipment like the windmill operated pump, the sluice gate and Tank has been blocked and converted to a toilet soak away. The installation of fiber optic cables, too, have blocked the drainage system and since Grenville is under sea level the end result of a heavy rain is always flooding.

The Buckmires will like to see a serious consultation take place as to the way forward for St. Andrew’s and especially, Grenville. Dr. Reginald will like to see the town transformed or patterned after GBSS Islet in St. Lucia, or Oistins in Barbados, where what was once an insignificant fishing town is now an organized commerce and trading centre where serious commercial activities has increased people’s capability to earn significantly.

In conclusion Dr. Reginald said, we are not making a whole lot of money but, we are dedicated Grenadians and we consider ourselves as catalysts for change.


46 BARNACLE MAY 2014

News

Drugs in School The Grenada’s 2013 Third Secondary Schools’ Drug Prevalence Survey report has recommended the development and implementation of tobacco legislation, increased awareness of awareness of national school policy on drugs and the formulation of national alcohol policy to deal with the prevalence of drugs at secondary schools.

Prevalence Of Marijuana Use

2nd Form, 35.5% in the 4th Form and 27% in the 5th Form with slightly more females (51.3%) than males (48.3%). According to the Drug Control Unit alcohol was followed by cigarettes (27%), marijuana (20%) and inhalants and solvents (16%). Fewer than 10% of the students reported using other substances.

Prevalence Of Marijuana Use By Age

Overall Prevalence Of Drug Use

The report also wants to amend of the Liquor Dealers’ License act, increase drug prevention and awareness programming to Carriacou with more information on drugs targeting students at Form 2. The recommendations follow a recently released report from the Drug Control Unit of the Ministry of Education indicated a decrease in the number of students using alcohol compared with the 2003 and 2005 reviews, with 72% of the 1,493 students from seventeen 17 public and private secondary schools surveyed indicating that alcohol was the “drug of choice.” According to the report the majority of students surveyed were between 15 and 16 years old (41.5%) followed by students 12 to 14 years old (31.2%) and 17 years old and older (16.8%). Approximately 37.5% of the students were in the

The type of alcoholic beverage preferred is beer, 71.2% of the students drink beer. Of the respondents who drink beer, 12% drink daily or several times a week and 18% drink on the weekends. Wine is consumed by 55.4% of students. Approximately 8% of the students drinking wine consume daily or several times a week and 11.7% drink on the weekends. Hard liquor is consumed by 57.4% and 10% drink daily or several times a week

The 2013 survey also showed that a lower number of males compared with females were drinking alcohol. Marijuana, according to the report, was the third highest substance reportedly use among secondary students. Approximately 20% of secondary students reported a lifetime prevalence of marijuana use, 13% indicated they used the drug within the year of the survey and 7% indicated

Employment on the horizon for hundreds of Carriacouans Work on Lauriston Airport Expansion begins Work on the upgrade and expansion of the Lauriston Airport in Carriacou will result in employment of a large number of residents of the island and impact the local economy. According to China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), the company

engaged by the Grenada government to undertake the project, its engineers are already in Carriacou, undertaking the required geotechnical surveys and studies aimed at determining the length and direction of the runway, the placement of aircraft aprons, the terminal building and the fire sta-

tion, among other things. According to CHEC, living quarters for its project engineers have been secured and the company office is now being fabricated. The company is also conducting further studies in wind direction & speed, to determine whether the runway, upon completion, will be able to accommodate the LIAT 72 seater aircraft, in accordance with a government promise. An expert team from the Eastern Caribbean Civil

they had their first experience within the month prior to the survey. Overall, males use marijuana more than females. Comparing marijuana use by gender, males increased their prevalence of marijuana use in 2013 (8.2%) while females reduced their prevalence by 6.8%. Overall, 28.5% of students reported they were curious to try any illicit drug. Many students were curious to try marijuana (22%) and to a lesser extent hemp (10%). Few students were curious about cocaine (4%), ecstasy (4%) and crack (2%). 38% of the students reported that drugs are at their school and 57% reported that drugs are next to their school. 57% percent of students reported that students bring drugs to school and 50% reported that students try/deal drugs at school. Marijuana, which has the third highest prevalence of use in secondary students,

Aviation Authority (ECCAA) in Antigua, has already visited Grenada for meetings with government officials and representatives from the Airports Authority, the contracting company CHEC and other stakeholders. World famous Chinese expert in airport design and construction Mr. Lin Linsheng, who has more than experience in the airport construction, is also a part of the CHEC team which assures the govern-

is the easiest drug for students to obtain with 38% reporting that it is easy to get the drug. 20% of the students reported that they would not be able to get marijuana. Of the other listed drugs, hemp is the second easiest to obtain (19%). Students were asked about their experiences that were caused by their alcohol or illicit drug use. The majority (63%) of students did not experience the consequences of drugs listed. 18% of students reported issues with anger management, 17% had academic issues, 15% had problems with family and/or friends, and 7% had trouble with the police. It is important to note that some students experience mental health concerns. Specifically, 11% had memory loss, 9% seriously considered thinking about suicide, 8% considered self- harm and have taken advantage of someone (each), and 6% had someone take advantage of them sexually.

ment and people of Grenada that the company would spare no resources in ensuring that the best expertise are available for the airport projects. The Parliamentary Representative for Carriacou and Petit Martinique, Elvin Nimrod says the project, which will also include night landing facilities, will “provide easier access for travel to and from Grenada,” He said it will also directly benefit passengers from international flights

whose final destination is Carriacou, while opening opportunities for investment and expansion in Tourism and Agriculture. The government has also engaged CHEC to undertake repairs to the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA). China Harbour is just weeks away from the completion of a flood mitigation project in St. Mark; a project which has received rave reviews from the Ministry of Works.


PRINTED BY THE NATION PUBLISHING CO. LTD., FONTABELLE, ST. MICHAEL, BARBADOS FOR THE BARNACLE OF VALLEY VIEW DRIVE, MT. PARNASSUS, ST. GEORGE’S, GRENADA, PUBLISHERS.

Barnacle may 14  

Barnacle Grenada is a business publication that features developmental issues and service expansion in the Grenadian economy

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you