Alister Hugies 19th December 1974
P. 0. Box 65
GRENAA. o( O
Please set Westindian' as one word wherever so shown
Newsletter for publication in week ending December 21st 1974
COCONUT INDUSTRY THREATENED
Mr Oilfred Julien, Managing Director of Tempe Manufacturing
Company, said this week that the company would be forced to close
down unless more copra was made available to the factory soon.
The Tempe Hanufacturing Co, which was established in 1941, is the
island's sole producer of refined coconut oil, coconut meal and
washing soap, but, because of declining supplies of copra, its
operations have been curtailed considerably.
"We used to produce 200 drums of refined coconut oil every month",
said Mr Julien, "but all we can manage now is 50. It takes us
three to four weeks to accumulate enough copra to operate the
grinder for three days, and, as a result, we have heavy
production losses. The Company's shareholders and employees
forsao a disastrous future".
During the past few months, 6 employees have been kept permanently
on the payroll to do essential maintenance and to buy, receive
and store copra. Then, when sufficient copra has been
accumulated, the staff is increased to 30 for about a week when
the factory goes into operation until the raw material is
Mr Julien said that the factory will close on December 20th, and
reopen in January. However, unless a better supply of copra
is assured, there would have to be serious consideration of the
situation if the Company is to remain open to business.
Weeklyl Nwslett er
As to causes of the shortage of copra, Mr Julien pointed out
that praedial larceny was on the increase and he thought that,
in spits of the ban on exports of coconuts, large quantities were
being exported illegally to Trinidad. In addition, because
of depressed local economic conditions, Mr Julien thought that
considerable quantities of coconuts were being used to produce
unrefined home made coconut oil.
The whole industry, Mr Julien said, was in peril because the
average Grenadian planter had never thought it necessary to give
his coconut trees the same attention he would to cocoa, bananas
and nutmegs. The result was that yields were declining.
In addition, Pad Hing disease was killing a lot of trees and
plantations were now being subject to a mite infection which was
thought to be new to the Caribbean and which was now being
investigated in Jamaica.
A possible solution to the manufacture of edible oil in Grenada
is the production of cotton seed oil, but this will not solve
the currant problems of Tempe Manufacturing Co. Some months
ago, an adaption was made to the grinders of the factory in
order to handle cotton seed which is available from Grenada's
islucnd dependency of Carriacou.
"We produced a good oil', said Ir. Julien, "but it is not as
clear as our refined coconut oil, and the public did not accept
it. Nesaarch is continuing and we hope that success will give
Carriacou an outlet for its now unused cotton seed, and at the
same timu solve the problem of keeping our factory in operation'.
We akl_ News1lette r
NEGOTIATIONS h ElAK< DUUN
Negotiations for a new Agreement between the Shipping Agents
and the Seamen & Waterfront Workers Union have broken down, and
the matter has been referred to the Labour Commissioner in an
effort to break the deadlock.
The present Agreement expires on January 9th, and, some two
months ago, the Shipping Agents submitted proposals to the Union
for a naw three--year Agreement, Counter proposals were then
put in by the Union, but, after several meetings, little headway
was mrndeand, by letter dated December llth, the Shipping Agents
informed the Union that the matter was being referred to the
The principal point on which a deadlock exists is that of wages.
The Union wants an immediate increase of 40'/ in the first year,
15;.. in the second, and 10% in the third year. The Shipping
Agents, however, are not prepared to make any wacji increase in
the first year. For the second year they offer 10%o, and
for the third, 5%.
Sources close to the Shipping Agents point out that, under the
current Agreement, Union workers received a 5/, increase in
January last plus a 25% cost of living allowance just five
months ago. In the face of this, these sources say the
present Union demands are unrealistic and so far removed from
what the Shipping Agents have offered that it is essential to
bring in the Labour Commissioner in order to have some chance
of reaching a compromise.
However, Senator Eric Pierre, Secretary General of the Union,
said this week that he was not satisfied that negotiations
between the Union and the Shipping Agents had been exhaustive
enough to require the services of the Labour Commissioner at
On the night of Saturday 14th, a fire completely destroyed the
garment and mattress making factory of Messrs. Grenada Industries
Ltd. in the Grand Anse area, leaving some 60 employees jobless.
Grenada Industries Ltd. was established in July last year by
three Trinidadian businessmen, Messrs. Habib Hadeed, Assad Elbawi
and Edmond Karkour. At that time, they purchased for
5462,224.00 ('C) the assets of the locally established firm of
Hessrs. Grenada Manufacturing Co, which had been set up by
Grenadian entrepeneur, Senator D. i-l. B. Cromwell.
Following the fire, Mr Hadeed said losses were estimated at
(CC) $300,000.00 for the building, a further .300,000.00 (EC)
for equipment and EC 50,000.00 in manufactured stock awaiting
Origin of the fire is unknown.
19th December, 1974