e~--L- --' --
Volume 7 Number 30
For The Week Ending 22nd September 1979
7th Year of Publication - - 228th Issue
PRG TAKES OVER COCA-COLA PLANT
The Coca-Cola bottling plant in Grenada has been taken over by the
People's Revolutionary Government (PRG). The take-over took
place yesterday (21st) and is the latest development in an
industrial dispute between W E Julien & Co Ltd, operators of the
bottling plant, and the Commercial & Industrial Workers Union(CIWUT)
The dispute began on August 16th when two employees were dismissed.
It is alleged that, on the previous day, they refused to obey
instructions and threatened the life of the plant Manager,
Mr Michael Julien.
When the men were dismissed, all but 7 of the 43 employees talked
off the job in protest. At this stage, the workers had no
S union representation, but the Company held talks with CIWU
President Mr Vincent Noel and, within a few days, recognition was
Since the walk-out, negotiations have been going on between the
Company and the Union, but no agreement has been reached. Further,
there have been major misunderstandings.
Mr Noel told e today (22nd) that, within a week of the start of
the strike, CIWU had made proposals for ending it. The Union's
suggestion, he said, was that the two dismiss4i.men beput on
suspension, the other workers would go back to t tlR ftdnd the
produced & Printed by Alister & Cynthia Hughe
P BOx 65, St.Georges, Grenada, Westindiea i
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Page 2 THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 22.9.79
matter would be put before an Arbitration Tribunal.
"The Company rejected this proposal", the CIWU President told
NEWSLETTER, "they said they had already taken a decision and they
could not alter the status of the dismissed men to that of being put
Mr Noel said there had been other proposals and counter proposals but
he could not remember the exact sequence. However, he said, the
basic position was that the Company was firm that, while they were
willing to pay the dismissed men's salaries to December 31st, they
were not willing to go to arbitration.
A spokesman for Julien's places a different light on the situation.
The spokesman told NEWSLETTER that, initially, the Company proposed
that the dismissal notices remain in effect and the two men be made
ex gratia payments equivalent to their salaries to the end of this
year. "Mr Noel appeared to think the proposal a good one", the
spokesman said, "and he went back to the Union for confirmation, but
the workers rejected it."
Following this, the spokesman said, the CIWU President proposed that
the matter be taken before the Labour Commissioner. The Company
Rejected this, proposing instead that the dispute be settled by an
Shatever the facts concerning the early discussions, it is not in
dispute that it was agreed, finally, that an Arbitration Tribunal
shouldd probe the matter. On tha composition of this Tribunal,
however, there was no agreement and the situation deteriorated.
In the appointment of Arbitration Tribunals, the practice is that
each side nominate one person and agreement is reached o an
independent Chairman. For the position of Chairman, the Company
put forward six pames while the Union proposed two. Both sides
rejected the names put forward by the other and, in a public
statement, the Company said the Union had nominated the Labour
Commissioner and an ex-President of the Trades Union Council.
Tze Company felt neither of these could give an unbiased decision.
Week Ending 22.9.79 fTHE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Page 3
On the other hand, the Union objected to the Company's nominations,
particularly those persons with legal backgrounds. Two of the
six persons are ex-Judges of the Supreme Court and another is a
practicing barrister. "Our position is that this is not a legal
matter", Mr Noel told NEWSLETTER. "The right of the employer to
dismiss is not being questioned. What we are talking about is
the circumstances of the dismissal and it is an industrial and
human relations point. The investigation has to have a social
imput. The Tribunal must consider the attitude and relationship,
of the Manager to his employees. The Tribunal has to examine,
not just this single incident, but all the things which would have
led to such an antagonistic relationship."
The CIWU President said that, when no agreement was reached on the
Chairman of the Tribunal, he approached the Minister of Labour,
Mr Selwyn Strachan, on Monday (17-h) and asked him to use his good
offices to help to resolve the dispute.
On the same day, the strikers began to picket the various
departments of Julien & Co and, at the bottling plant, they
prevented a crane from entering the premises. They also stopped
a maintenance man from working. It is alleged that they stopped
the night watchman from going to do his job but this is denied by
In any event, the Company employed two guards from a security
service to patrol the bottling plant premises that night and,
sometime before morning, they reported to the Manager that the
buildings were being stoned. The Manager called the Criminal
Investigation Department (CID) to ask for police protection, and
he reports that he was referred to the Minister of Home Affairs,
Mr Vincent Noel.
Referring to this in a published statement, the Company said,
"Naturally, no attempt was made to contact Mr Noel since this
gentleman, in addition to being Minister of Home Affairs, under
whose portfolio the Police come, is also President of the Union
which represents the employees at the factory."
Page 4 THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 22.9.79
The next morning, Tuesday (18th), when the security guards were leaving
the premises, they were beaten by a group of men. A spokesman for
the security service told NEWSLETTER one was bady hurt and had to have
X-rays taken of his head. "Not only were they cuffed", he said,
"but they were stoned and both received serious cuts about the face and
head. With one of them, it was thought his skull may have been
fractured and X-rays were taken, but, fortunately, this was not found
to be so."
Up to this point, although there was no production, the bottling plant
had remained open every day with the few workers who were not on
strike, but, after the incident with the security guards, the
Company decided to close. On the next day, Wednesday (19th),
Minister.of Labour Strachan entered the scene.
In a letter to Julien's, Mr Strachan referred to the dispute which,
he said, culminated in strike action "and the lockout by your Company
whic. started yesterday 18th instant". The letter said
Government appreciates the rights of parties to resolve their
disagreements themselves but the People's Revolutionary Government
has a commitment to citizens to guarantee them adequate supplies
I"The public of Grenada", the Minister said, "has suffered a great deal
for some time because of what appears to be the autocratic and
arbitrary action of Management."
"Government acting in the interest of the public, therefore'", the
letter continued, "requests that you rehire by 8.00 am on Friday
21st September, all the workers involved with payment of full wages
from the commencing date of dispute, pending the report of a
Committee to be' agreed by all relevant parties."
Mr Strachan concluded by saying that, if there was "failure to adhere
'' to the above request", Government would be forced to take the
"necessary step" to ensure that production returns to normal.
The Company replied to the Minister on Thursday (20th) refuting
4. charge of being autocratic and arbitrary and expressing
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Week Bndi f 22.9.79 THE GRBNAA NEWSLETTER Page 5
amazement and astonishment at the contents of Mr Strachan's letter.
No reference was made to the Minister's request for reemployment of
the workers, but the Company asked Mr Strachan to use his good
offices to find a Chairman (for the Arbitration Tribunal) who would
be acceptable to both sides.
Mr Strachan replied on Frdday (21st). "I have to inform you", he
said, "that the request communicated by my letter dated 18th inst
should not be interpreted as a matter for negotiation and/or
compromise. It is a firm stand of the People's Revolutionary
Government for effecting an immediate settlement of a dispute which
has lasted for too long a period of 37 days."
The Minister said the overriding consideration of the PRG is to
ensure immediate resumption at the Coke plant, "thus ensuring no
further hardship to the suffering public and no further harm to the
economy." Mr Strachan gave the assurance that, once production
returns to normal, a Tribunal will be set up "after consultation
with the relevant parties."
Julien & Co did not rehire the workers as requested by the Minister
but, on Friday morning (21st), an official of the Ministry of
Labour held discussions with the Board of Management of the
Company. A Company spokesman told NEWSLETTER it was agreed that
/1 all workers, except the two dismissed, would be reemployed and the
plant would be reopened on Monday (24th). It was agreed also
there would be no strike pay. The two dismissed workers would
not be allowed back at the plant but they would be kept on full pay
until a Tribunal had reported.
The Ministry official was to return later in the morning to ratify
the agreement but, instead, two policemen approached Mr Sandy
Taylor, Managing Director of the Company. They had an
authorisation from the Minister of Labour to the Commissioner of
Police to collect the keys of the bottling plant, and Mr Taylor
delivered these keys to them. The plant was opened immediately
and Mr Noel told NEWSLETTER today (22nd) that production will begin
on Monday (24th)
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Page GRENADA ItWSLETTE Week Endi 22.9.79
In the meantime, a press release from the Grenada Employers
Federation, issued today (22nd), disclosed there was a meeting of
the Federation and the Chamber of Commerce with the Minister of
Labour on Thursday (20th). The release said Mr Strachan's letter
of 19th was discussed and concern was expressed "over the departure
from normal industrial relations practice".
According to the release, Mr Strachan was asked to withdraw his
uAtimatum to the Company, and the Federation and Chamber urged the
"setting up of an Arbitration Tribunal as requested by the Company
and agreed by the Union". Also, the Minister was asked whether
it is Government's intention "to alter the rules and laws governing
dispute procedure and, if so, that the two organizations be advised."
"The Federation views with dismay the action taken by Government in
taking over the Coca-Cola bottling plant without due recourse to
resolving the matter by the findings of an arbitration tribunal
which is a complete departure from normal industrial practice", the
Mr Noel told NEWSLETTER that the bottling plant (which has been in
operation since November 1960) will probably be in the hands of
; senior members of the staff when it reopens on Monday.
"Government will have to appoint a Manager", he said, "and the Union
will probably be consulted".
Sources close to the Company say there is enough CCae-Co~a concentrate
in the island to keep the plant in production until early 1980,
and NEWSLETTER asked Mr Noel what plans he has if the matter is not
settled and the plant back in the hands of Julien & Co before the
stock of concentrate is exhausted.
"In any event", he said, "concentrate will be found. Come hell
or high water, they will find concentrate of one kind or another."
UNCERTAINTY OVER JOURNALIST'S PASSPORT
q4 case against the Editor of the Grenada weekly newspaper,
"The Westindian Crusader", came up in the Magistrate's court on
Week Ending 22.9.79 THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Page 7
2' j Monday (17th) and has created some confusion and uncertainty.
The Editor, Mr Eslee Carberry, is charged with assault and, two
weeks ago, his passport was confiscated by the authorities. "The
Westindian Crusader" is printed in Barbados and it was while he
was on his way to that island with prepared copy for printing that
Mr Carberry's passport was taken away by security personnel at
A source close to the Government Information Services told
NEWSLETTER today (17th) that the passport was taken because it was
thought Mr Carberry planned to leave Grenada in order to escape the
charge. In Court this morning, however, the Police said they
knew nothing of the confiscation of the passport. And,
Magistrate Lyle St.Paul expressed surprise that a passport would be
confiscated relative to the simple charge of assault.
NEWSLETTER spoke to the Commissioner of Police, Mr James Clarkson,
with a view to having some light thrown on the matter. Mr Clarkson
said the confiscation of the passport had nothing to do with the
charge of assault against Mr Carberry. The passport is being
held by the Police, he said, because of "other matters" concerning
Mr Caroerry, which matters are being investigated by the Ministry
of National Security.
This is the second occasion on which the Editor of "The Westindian
Crusader" has had a confrontation with the authorities. The
first occasion occurred some two weeks before his passport was taken
and it involved prepared copy he was taking out of the island for
On this occasion, the copy was confiscated at the airport and no
reason was given to him. A source in the Government Information
Services told NEWSLETTER, however, that the copy had been seized
because it contained a publication "very damaging" to the case of
James Wardally and Chester Humphrey, two Grenadians now facing arms
smuggling charges in the United States.
According to Mr Carberry, that publication is a letter to the
Editor. It criticizes the People's Revolutionary Government
page 8 THE GREMADA NBS.LETTE Week Ending 22.9.79
(PRG) for trying to get the United Stateqtto drop the charges against
the two men. The writer of the letter considers that the PRG is
interfering in the internal affairs of the US, and the opinion is
expressed that those "who choose to spy or otherwise violate the
laws of another country for the benefit of their own must be prepared
to suffer the martyrdom of the sanctions imposed by that other country".
The case of assault against Mr Carberry was not heard today as the
Police were not ready to proceed. One of their principal
witnesses is out of the State. Magistrate St.Paul granted an
adjournment until Monday October 1st.
DETENTION TRIBUNAL CONTINUES HEARINGS
The Tribunal appointed by the People's Revolutionary Government to
review the cases of political prisoners continued its sittings this
NEWSLETTER for the week ending September 8th gave details of sittings
which had taken place that week and of sittings scheduled until
September llth. During the week ending September 15th, there were
three more sittings as follows :-
Wednesday 12th September
Charles C Whyte
Thursday 13th September
N. George Rullow
Friday 14th September
I Lloyd St.Louis
Herbert Bassanta Fletcher
This week, there nave been five sittings as follows :-
Monday 17th September
Michael J Frank
Week Ending 22.9.79 THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Page 9
Tuesday 18th September
Wednesday 19th September
Albert 0 Forsythe
Thursday 20th September
Roraney David Coomansingh
Friday 21st September
The following sittings are scheduled for next week
Monday 24th September
Herbert J Preudhomme
Tuesday 25th September
Wednesday 26th September
When this sitting of the Tribunal will have been completed, sixty-
eight persons will have had their cases reviewed. In addition,
there are nine persons who were originally political prisoners but
who have since had criminal charges laid against them. Bigtrt of
these are alleged to have been members of deposed Prime Minister
Gairy's "mongoose gang", and the other was the Superintendent of
Prisons before the revolution..
The ex-Superintendent of Prisons is Francis Jones and he is charged
with fraud. The alleged members of the "mongoose gang" are
Willie Bishop, Moslyn Bishop, Dudley Passee, Albert Clarke, Alston
Hood, Phillip BrIzan, Lloyd Frederick, Gordon Noel and Raphae2
Brizan. These men have been charged with attempted murder. (tbit'd
Page 10 THE GRENADA NBWSIATTER Week Ending 2 .9 79
Adding these names to the 68 who have had their cases reviewed, the
total is 78. This is two more than the total when cases were
reviewed earlier this year (see NEWSLETTER for wj.esg ending 11.8.79)
and the two new names are Graves Whyte and Antonio Longdon. Nothing
is known of the latter, but Graves Whyte is the brother of Mr Winston
Whyte, member of the former House of Representatives. Mr Winston
Whyte is a member of the United People's Party and, at one time, was
I political Leader of that Party. Graves Whyte was taken into
custody on August 23rd.
CRUISE LINER CALLS
The last statistics for cruise liner calls was given in NEWSLETTER
for the week ending August 11th and covered calls up to the week
ending July 21st.
The following figures are now available;-
July 23rd "Fair Wind"
24th "Cunard Countess"
25th "Carla C"
July 31st "Cunard Countess"
Aug 1st "Carla C"
3rd "Fair Wind"
Aug 7th "Cunard Countess"
8th "Carla C"
Aug 13th "Fair Wind"
14th "Cunard Countess"
15th "Carla C"
12655 Passengers W/Ending
1129 do tio"
2760 Passengers W/Ending
%/1646 Passengers W/Ending
V2730 Passengers W/Ending
/ 801 Passengers W/Ending
is advised by the Tourist Bureau that, during the
weeks ending September 1st and 8th, there were no cruise liner
calls at Grenada.
Week Ending 22.9.79 THE c~EA NP~ BWJ$ TTER Page 11
Shipped to ....
i August -
% Ju.ne ..
% J anrch
% _, January,
.. ...:: '. : :. '
Total Dollars (EC)
Earned to ....
--I J, b1 -
S Pbruary I
Page 12 THE GRERAA ,NBMSLETTE Week Ending 22.9.79
The last statistics given for banana shipments waxe in NEWSLETTER
for the week ending September 8th and covered shipments up to the
"Geesttide" of July 24th.
On 31st July, the S S "Geestcrest" loaded 18,143 boxes of bananas
weighing 562,728 Ibs. There were 258 bdxes of rejected fruit.
The Grenada Banana Cooperative Society (GBCS) paid producers EC 18
on the boxing plant weight of 579,366 Ibs. Geest Industries
paid GBCS ECO 39.120 per pound on the shipped weight.
A is ughes
2 september 1979