Alister Hughes 7th November 1975
P 0 Box 65
THE pgRENADA NEWSLETTER
For Week Ending November 8th.
THE NUTIEG INQUIRY
The proceedings of the one-man Commission of 3Iquiry into the
affairs of the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Association took a new
turn on Friday of this week (?th) with the filing of a Writ in
the High Court of Justice.
Events leading up to this began on Thursday when three Grenadian
barristers-at-law, Messrs Kenrick Radix4 Maurice Bishop and Lloyd
Noel, appeared before the Commissioner, Mr Harold bennison and
advised him that they represented certain members of the elected
Nutmeg Board which was dissolved by Government on July 4th.
These barristers made submissions to Mr Dennison on their clients-
behalf and stated that there were several rights which had been
denied. Among these, they said, was the fact that their clients
had not been notified of the intention to hold an inquiry. That
they should have been given an opportunity to make representations
on the choice and number of commissioners. And that, as of
right, they should have been given access to all relevant books
The submissions of Messrs Radix, Bishop and ioel claimed that the
Commissioner had a duty to give full and accurate disclosure of
the evidence so far, they wished to have the right to recall
witnesses, and they felt the Commissioner had not demonstrated
a full, faithful and impartial investigation.
When eir Dennison resumed on Friday morning, he said that, with the
exception of the right to recall witnesses and to lead their
witnesses in examination, all the barristers' submissions were
overruled. Mr Bishop then indicated that, in the light of
this ruling, the barristers did not propose to proceed as they wr'e
unable to lead their witnesses. Shortly after, Messrs Radix,
Bishop and Noel left the Inquiry and were followed by a large
number of nutmeg producers who were in the gallery.
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 8.11.-9
As a sequel to this, a Writ was filed in the High Court on Friday
afternoon by Mr F J Archibald, chairman of the dissolved Nutmeg Board.
This Writ seeks, among other things, a declaration that the Commissioner
has demonstrated "a real i ihood of bias by reason of his general
conduct of the proceedings and his vehement expressions of prejudical
allegations". The Writ also seeks an injunction restraining
Commissioner Dennison from proceeding or threatening to proceed
with the inquiry. Sources close to Mr Archibald said that this
suit is expected to be heard either on Monday or Tuesday.
Among persons who have given evidence to the Commissioner are
Mr Robin Renwick, Manager of the Association. Questioned by
Mr Desmond Christian, Grenada's Attorney General, Mr Renwick said
that, in 1970, the sum of EC$870,000.00 was transferred to Barbados
and placed on fixed deposit with a bank there. Within a few
months, this money was brought back.
Mr Renwick also gave evidence relative to the convening of and
attendance at meetings of the Association. He said that Area
Meetings were held to elect delegates to the General Meeting and
that these delegates were elected on the basis of one delegate to
every 25 members in the Area. There was no fixed policy relative
to permitting members (other than delegates) to attend General Meetings
as observers, but, at times, this had been done.
In connection with the Annual General Meeting of May 23rd, 28th and
31st 1974, the Manager said no delegates had been excluded, but other
members of the Association had not been permitted to attend.
Referring to the Public Relations Committee, Mr Renwick said this had
been formed as a result of a Resolution passed at an Extraordinary
General Meeting held on 4th February 1970. Mr Renwick said this
meeting had been called to discuss a threat by Government to take over
the Nutmeg Industry, and it was considered that the Resolution to
establish the Public Relations Committee arose out of the subject of
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 8.11.75
In the course of his evidence, Mr Renwick revealed that a survey
done in 1970 had disclosed that of 5,288 nutmeg producers in
Grenada at that time, 2,595 or 49% were holders of property under
one acre. holders of property between 1 and five acres numbeTre
2,115, and this represented 40% of the producers. 'here were
132 producers with property between 10 and 20 acres representing
2% of the producers 67 (1%) with holdings between 20 and 50 acres,
32 (Y%) having properties between 50 and 100 acres, and 38 (W%)
with holdings of over 100 acres.
Another person questioned by the Attorney General about the transfer
of money to Barbados in 1970 was Mr Irvine bishop, a member of the
Association. Mr Bishop said he was at the General Meeting at
which it was decided to transfer the money, and he said delegates
to that meeting were in a "great fright" that the funds of the
Association would be seized by Government. The witness said
he did not share that fright but he was in the minority.
During the course of Mr Bishop's evidence, Comiissioner Dennison
referred to the Grenada Cocoa Board, which cooperative has been
taken over and is being run by Government. Mr Dennison asked
Mr Bishop to remember that, before Government took over the Cocoa
Board, people were dissatisfied, but that, now it is doing good
work, people are satisfied. He pointed out that it was only
a matter of two years since the take-over and time must be given to
run the Board so that people will see and learn. "Ifl .ngland",
he said, "with its 800 or 1000 years of experience, was to do
something of that nature, they might, peritaps, keep it running
for about 20 years before they start it back again."
Mr Dennison also referred to the Report of the Ward Commission of
Inquiry which had investigated the affairs of the L'utmeg Association
in 1971. In a reply to a question from the Commissioner,
Mr Bishop said he had not seen "much of a change of heart in the
Nutmeg Board" after the Ward Commission Report was submitted. The
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 6.11.75
Commissioner then said, "From reading VT Ward's Report, I have not
seen any change of heart, and it is a dangerous thing even to attempt
to put the business of thousands of people into th'e hands of people
who would not show a change of heart."
Also appearing before the Commissioner was Mr upert Campbell,
Accountant to the Association. Questioned on the accounts of the
Public Relations Committee (PRC), Mr Campbell said a total of
EC$33,363.59 had been made available to the PRC. Of this sum,
EC$11,546.39 had been spent between 1970 and 1975, and of this
expenditure, FC$1,996.C6 had been for a public address system to be
used principally at General Meetings. He revealed also that the
books of account of the PRC were kept by Mr F J ^rchibald, and he
exppreseed the opinion that the public address system was in
Mr Archibald's possession.
Commissioner Dennison said he would give until Tuesday 11th to
have the P A system qnd the books of account of the PRC produced to
him, and, if they were not forthcoming, he would "take certain steps
that people would not forget". If the articles were not produced,
he said, "certain people will go to get them, and the getting will be
Mr Dennison gave instructions that certain people whom he wanted to
appear before him on Thursday (6th) should be notified over Radio
Grenada and, in addition, the Police should inform them. "If they
don't come", said the Commissioner, "we'll do the usual thing. We'll
lock them up."
One of these persons is r F J Archibald, chairman of the dissolved
Nutmeg Board. Up to Friday (?th) afternoon, however, it was
understood that he had not yet been subpoenaed. The inquiry has
been adjourned until monday 10th, but in view of the Writ filed by
Mr Archibald in the High Court, it is not known whether the hearings
will continue at that time.
THE GRENA:.A NEWSLETTER Week Ending 8.11.75
CHAiBBER CONCERNED OVER 1gUTL:EG ASSOCIATION.
In a letter dated October 24th, the Grenada Uhamber of Commerce
expressed concern to Government over what it calls "the dissolution
of the various agricultural cooperative institutions in the btate,
viz. the Grenada Cocoa Industries board, the Grenada Banana
Cooperative Society and the Grenada Cooperative 1'utmes Aaguci~tiun."
Nr lydon Ramdhanny, President of the Chamber, said today (8tb) that
his organisation was particularly concerned that the interim Boards
which had been appointed to run these cooperative agricultural
institutions had been given no fixed tenure of office. The
President said his Chamber's letter had urged Government to arrange
for election of Boards as was contemplated by the original
legislation. Govenment has not yet replied to the Chamber's
CPBA AhlUAL GEhERAL MEETING I1 GRENADA.
The Annual General Meeting of the Caribbean Publishers and
Broadcasters Association (CFBA) was held at the Grenada holidayy
Inn, over the period 6th and 71t November.
Deputising for Prime Minister Gairy, acting minister of Finance,
lr Franklin Dolland, in opening the meeting, suggested that
Westindian journalists should place more emphasis on what he
called "positive reports" rather than on "negative ones".
Speaking at the opening function, Mr Ken Gordon, President of
CPBA, challenged the concept that dissent militates against
national development goals. He said the argument did not take
into account morality, accountability and choice, vital human
considerations which are critical for national development.
According to a press release issued after the meeting, the CPBA
accepted a Report from its Freedom of the Press Commrittee which
stressed "the continuing unhealthiness of the state of the press
in a number of CARICOM countries." Particular attention was
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 8.11i75
drawn to Westindian countries where the threat to freedom of the
press continues, and special mention was made of Antigua, Trinidad
& Tobago, Guyana, Dominica, Grenada and Ot.Kitts. '
In connection with Antigua, Dominica, Grenada and St.hitts, the
Freedom of the Press Committee deplored the existence of laws which
severely limit the functioning of a free press. The dismissal
of five senior journalists from the %overnment-owned radio station
in Trinidad & Tobago, in the Committee's opinion, constituted a threat
to the security of working journalissta and as such, to the free iroQe
throughout the Caribbean.
According to the Committee, the situation in Ouyana continues to be
"undesirable", but Barbados and Jamaica were singled out as the
countries where there are encouraging signs of continuing press
freedom. The Committee said, however, that the current dispute in
Jamaica over the suspension of the radio programme, "Public Eye" was
to be regretted.
It has been agreed by CPBA that the Press Council should be established
not later than June 1976. his Council will be headed by Mr Aubrey
Fraser, Director of the Council of Legal Education of the University of
the West Indies.
Mr Ken Gordon was unanimously reelected for a third term as President
of CPBA. Messrs Mark Conyers and Nicholas Mellersh were unanimously
elected respectively to the posts of Vice-President and Secretary/
Treasurer. Other members elected to the Management Committee were
Messrs J C Proute, D. Whylie, V. Grosvenor, Gerhard Reiche and M gordon.
8th November 1975