by Linda Straker
- Spicemas Corporation board has ordered inquiry into confrontation
- No ban on water for carnival season but restriction at specific events
Genevieve Gibbs, Chairman of the Spicemas Corporation (SMC) said that the board has ordered an inquiry into the confrontation between its Chief Executive Officer and the owner of a water producing company.
“I wish to categorically state that the board and the management of the SMC do not condone or advocate any form of violence, be it deliberate or provoked. As such, we have immediately ordered a full review of what transpired and have already received a comprehensive report from the SMC staff present at the time of the disturbance,” said Gibbs in a message hours after a video began circulating of the CEO and the water company owner in the confrontation.
Gibbs said that before the confrontation, the SMC staff had placed a call to the Royal Grenada Police Force and they are also conducting an investigation. “We are committed to having a final conclusion of this matter in short order,” Gibbs promised.
The confrontation occurred hours after an attorney for the water company filed an application in the court for judicial review proceedings and for an interim injunction. The matter is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, 23 July 2019.
The issued is centred around the decision by the board of the Spicemas Corporation to award exclusive rights to another bottled water company for its product to be the official water for events organised by the corporation.
The competing bottled water company is contending that the exclusive rights decision is unfair competition and a violation of the 2014 Procurement legislation which mandates that all state bodies and enterprises tender its services. That rule only applies if the service being sought is more than EC$15,000.
Gibbs explains that it will be a breach of sponsorship engagement if the board allows any brand that competes with approved sponsors.
“Through our many engagements, we have successfully concluded contractual arrangements with a number of stakeholders and sponsors, whose valuable support is key for the successful execution of carnival,” she said, pointing out that besides SMC organised events, there are many other opportunities available throughout the season that companies can embrace to promote their brand and sell their products.
Kirk Seetahal, immediate former CEO of Spicemas Corporation is of the opinion that there is a misunderstanding and miscommunication between the SMC and water company that is taking the matter to court.
“The exclusive right is only for Spicemas Corporation events and therefore water from a competing business can be sold at all other carnival events that are not organised by the corporation. There is not a ban on water for the carnival season but restriction at specific events,” he said, explaining that the rule doesn’t apply to existing businesses within the carnival parade route on the final days of the carnival festival.
“It doesn’t apply to them because carnival is not the reason they are operating, they are functioning whether or not carnival is in season,” he added.