Editorials

Attack on Farmers Assets!!!

THE NEW TODAY is calling on Grenadians to pay very close attention to a move under the period of the COVID-19 lockdown by the Keith Mitchell-led government to dismantle both the Grenada Co-operative Nutmeg Association (GCNA) and the Grenada Cocoa Association (GCA).

There are so many more important issues to be addressed by the administration than to launch an attack at this point in time on the farmers of the nation who have over one billion E.C dollars in assets built up over many decades.

The Prime Minister and his NNP regime have failed over the years to demonstrate any seriousness to the growth and development of the agriculture sector.

This particular government has not assisted the farmers in any meaningful way to boost nutmeg and cocoa production to help Grenada return to the pre-Hurricane Ivan era when it was a major player on the world market especially in the export trade for nutmeg and mace.

It is well known that this NNP government allowed the banana industry to collapse and fail but is now making an underhand move to take over GCNA and GCA under the guise of liberalisation of the industry when production of the crop is very low and sales are not robust.

Is this liberalisation influenced by the attempt being made by the Prime Minister’s son, Olinga Mitchell, along with a few local producers and the Russians to also sell nutmegs and mace and to break the GCNA monopoly in the international market?

The history of this government of Dr. Mitchell is one of selling passports and engaging in rather questionable relationships with foreign investors to build hotels for a very fickle tourism sector that is now in crisis due to the coronavirus.

This newspaper is calling on the Prime Minister to concentrate his energies at this point in time on solving the massive problem on the western side of the island affecting bus drivers and the motoring public due to the collapse of the Molinere main road which is critical for the transportation sector.

There seems to be a deafening silence by the now cash-strapped government on the problem at Molinere which some experts indicate might cost in the region of EC$150 to $200 million to rectify.

The Prime Minister has also been silent and refusing to give Grenadians any update on their offshore oil and gas resources and who is now in charge of these deposits – the Russians or the Chinese.

This oil and gas issue was used by Dr. Mitchell as a major vote catcher in the 2018 general election when he told the final NNP rally on the Pearl’s airstrip on the eve of polling day that millions are now near at hand for the development of the country.

The Prime Minister and NNP have launched an attack on the assets of GCNA without coming back to Grenadians to give an account on the EC$52.4 million in passport sales that disappeared under the failed Shrimp Farm Project in Victoria, St. Mark.

The Prime Minister has interfered in the now defunct Grenada Banana Co-operative Society (GBCS) in the past and nutmeg and cocoa farmers should refresh their memories on the outcome of the NNP so-called attempt to rescue the industry.

The GBCS had a lot of assets and it might be interesting to find out what became of these assets. Who are now the new owners of those buildings that were once owned by banana farmers in the country? Are some of them now in the hands of NNP operatives?

The egos of Prime Minister Mitchell and his Number 2, Works Minister Gregory Bowen have cost the taxpayers of this country another EC$200 million in their misguided battle against WRB Enterprises on the Grenlec issue following the ruling in March by the International Arbitration Tribunal.

What is the game plan of the NNP administration for the cocoa and nutmeg farmers and their millions of dollars in assets?

The nutmeg association is currently earning $EC2 million a year in rent money from the GCNA Complex on the Lagoon road for the farmers and demonstrated that the people who started the project over 20-30 years ago had far much better foresight than the Prime Minister himself and also stood their ground against him as he made a previous grab for the industry some years ago.

It is clear to this newspaper that now the industry has borne fruits due to the vision of those former GCNA leaders and Board members, Dr. Mitchell is trying to use the situation of uncertainty due to COVID-19 to renew his efforts to seize the assets of the farmers.

THE NEW TODAY is calling on all those vying for political office in the country to replace the NNP government to embrace this opportunity and to join in a struggle to block this assault by the Prime Minister and his Cabinet of Ministers on the farmers of the nation.

The newly appointed Leader of the Opposition, Tobias Clement, himself a farmer, has been presented with an opportunity to convene a meeting of all Opposition Forces to take a close look at this latest NNP attack on the farmers at a time when the country is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic.

The former Opposition Leader, Michael Baptiste who has preached the need for rural development over the years should also join in this fight and play a leading role against the government’s renewed attack on farmers and their assets.

The regime in St. George’s is going full steam ahead with wanting to lay its hands on millions of dollars in assets belonging to the farmers who are mainly located in rural Grenada.

The current Minister of Agriculture, Yolande Bain-Horsford has been stone cold silent and is yet to come before the nation to explain the plans of the regime on the so-called merger of GCNA and GCA.

Would the farmers be paid for their assets now running over one billion dollars? Who is going to pay the farmers for their assets especially those entrusted to GCNA? Who will now control these assets under the merger?

COVID-19 has wiped out Passport Grenada and the Prime Minister and NNP have now turned their attention once more to the over one billion dollars of assets belonging to the nutmeg and cocoa farmers

History will judge those opposition elements who choose the path of inaction and surrender and fail to stand up and allow GCNA and GCA to become another failed Call Center venture under the leadership of Prime Minister Mitchell and his rudderless NNP administration.

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