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New draft bill to merge nutmeg and cocoa associations

In the face of widespread opposition from farmers on the island, the Keith Mitchell-led ruling New National Party (NNP) government has made sweeping changes to a draft bill that was aimed at bringing about the dissolution of the Grenada Co-operative Nutmeg Association (GCNA) and Grenada Cocoa Association (GCA) and the creation of a new company.

THE NEW TODAY has obtained a copy of the new draft bill in which the sweeping powers given to the Minister of Agriculture Yolande Bain-Horsford to appoint all nine members of the Board of Directors of the new entity has been removed.

This was one of the thorny issues that alarmed farmers who voiced strong opposition to the plans contained in the draft bill by the Mitchell government to merge the two commodity boards.

Under the new proposal, all nine members of the governing board will be elected by the members of the new association among its members.

The new draft bill is totally different from the earlier one that was presented for discussion between a Merger Committee involving three representatives of government and the heads of both GCNA and GCA.

The latest draft in circulation has made no mention of the plans by government to liberalise the nutmeg and cocoa industry and to allow for the export of nutmegs and cocoa by persons outside of the association.

However, the draft bill seeks to place a lot of powers in the hands of Prime Minister Mitchell in his capacity as Minister of Finance to have financial oversight over the operations of the new association.

As a public service, THE NEW TODAY reproduces in full the draft bill for the new entity to be called the Grenada Nutmeg and Cocoa Association (GNCA):

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