Our Readers' Opinions
February 13, 2009
A bill to kill

by Oscar Allen 13.FEB.09

The new banana industry bill now before Parliament is completely out of line with the stage that the industry has reached and can reach. It is a flawed, bruised, undergrade and reject banana bill. A backward piece of legislation. Just when it looked as if the Fairtrade Organisation was becoming mature enough in its alliance with WINFA to manage its share of the banana export industry in a respectful balance of forces, the new banana bill says to it: Step down and know your place (Articles 4 – 1T){{more}}

Just when the Minister of Industry was telling us that private sector businesses like banana growers would get help to launch themselves into international business orbit, this new bill proclaims: It is the State/Minister who runs this business (Article 3)

After nearly 55 years of a growers’ industry organized and reorganized by the colonial state by Geest capital and by the independent state, this new bill proclaims: Growers, the only rights you have in industry governance is consultation rights, empty-talk rights (Article 15). Just one year after the Stewart, Dabreo Agro Producers Company started a small banana trade business, the export monopoly of the state agency becomes more negotiable. (Articles 11, 12)

This new banana bill, at a time when the talk is about post colonial society, is making producers turn back to the stage of ‘Yes Masa’. It does not build upon the 1993-1996 progress when banana growers’ organisations became owners of Geest Industries capital through purchase by WIBDECO. Hardly anybody remembers when and where WIBDECO was born and who are its parents! But it is from WIBDECO platform that restructuring the industry must take off. Why not consider the WINFA Fairtrade or its equivalent as inheriting the original Grenada equity in WIBDECO?

In this globalist, postcolonial environment, we have opportunity and challenges to put into the global arena a postcolonial business entity, a people’s transnational enterprise, a producer based stimulus investment, our Barak Obama type WIBDECO – broader, bolder, strong on equity and justice, generating hope and accumulating wealth.

Yes, banana growers, we can.