by Sandra Ferguson
Over the last three weeks, the nation has been taking great interest in the dispute between Spicemas Corporation and Mt Pure, a provider of water products.
The issue at hand is that Mt Pure was denied a vendors licence to sell its products at official Carnival events since a competitor, Glenelg already had an agreement/arrangement with SMC to be an official sponsor of SMC events and therefore its products enjoy exclusive rights at all official Carnival events.
The focus of news items and public discussion over the last three weeks was on the unfortunate incident which occurred when the CEO of Mt Pure, accompanied by her entourage, visited the office of the Spicemas Corporation in an attempt to meet with the boss of Spicemas’ Corporation about the matter of the licence. Whatever the perceived rights or wrongs of the action of Mt Pure’s CEO in visiting the office, the key concern and focus of the public should be on the reaction of the boss of Spicemas Corporation – an unfortunate reaction which could even be described as assault.
Spicemas Corporation is a public entity – the people’s business – the operations of which are funded by taxpayers. We should expect a certain standard of conduct from those persons paid by our money to look after our business. The reaction of the boss of Spicemas Corporation is INEXCUSABLE. He owes the general public an APOLOGY. One appreciates that often time, one has to deal with difficult situations. It is expected that one should RISE to the occasion and take the moral high ground to diffuse the situation with CALM and with RESPECT.
And what about the other members of the staff of Spicemas Corporation? What was their responsibility in allowing the lady and her entourage to proceed to the closed door where the boss was in a meeting? They too obviously lacked the competence to handle a difficult situation.
In the final analysis, whatever one thinks of the methods of Mt Pure’s CEO in protesting the exclusion of her company from a vendor’s licence to sell Mt Pure products at official Carnival events, she is to be COMMENDED for standing up for her right as a local business person to have equal access to opportunities to participate and share in the economic benefits created by the Carnival festivities. Mt Pure has resorted to legal means to challenge the SMC’s decision. The court has granted permission to file for a judicial review of the procurement process of Spicemas Corporation, a public entity. The final results of that review will have consequences far and wide for the procurement practices of all public entities re procurement of sponsorship and for the right of all local businesses to participate in the tendering process.
- Spicemas Corporation and Privatisation:
The dispute between Spicemas Corporation and Mt Pure also gives one a “ringside view” of how a privatized Spicemas Corporation could look. The idea of the privatisation of Spicemas Corporation has been floated previously and likely to be floated again. This “upfront “view provides us with a picture of how a privatised Spicemas Corporation might operate – as a cabal to the benefit of an exclusive few. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. We must mind our business!
- The Vending Machine in the St George’s Bus Terminus:
Another citizen taking a stand recently is Sister Cammy Scott who operates a booth in the St George’s Bus Terminus. Sister Cammie can often be heard weighing in on various issues, making contributions on various call-in programmes. Via newscasts, we heard her taking issue with a vending machine that had been recently installed on the terminus. She suggested that the vending machine would compete with vendors and adversely affect their sales, and take “bread out of their mouth”. She further suggested that permitting a vending machine was in violation of the agreement between the tenants and the operators of the terminus, the Grenada Ports Authority. The monthly rental fee to operate a booth is $700. I am not privy to the agreement between the terminus and its vendors but Sister Cammie has expressed a legitimate concern which not only affects her, but other vendors. When I enquired from an official of the Grenada Ports Authority, I was informed of the rationale for permitting a vending machine to be installed and I was also advised that the Ports Authority was scheduling a meeting with the vendors to discuss the issue.
While unaware of the outcome of the meeting, I take the opportunity to commend Sister Cammie for speaking up and bringing attention to an issue which could negatively affect her and other vendors in the terminus. I trust that it will be/has been resolved amicably, in the best interests of all.
I commend both Mt Pure’s CEO and Sister Cammie Scott for standing up and speaking out! It is so much easier to shrug one’s shoulder and let things slide! Bravo sisters! Your courage is commendable!