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Forum: Gouyave Talk
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Beyond The Paint,The Belvidare of Central Depradine Street

Our Nutmeg Pool, being the largest structure in our country, its size seems with time, to have out-lived its usefulness as Grenada slowly transitioned out of a once 100% agrarian economy to a more lucrative blend of service-base and tourism model. The decline in Nutmeg and Mace prodiction/processing over the years was met with an underutilizarion of the building space where it now uses approximately one fifth (if that) of the square footage necessary to accommodate peek Nutmeg production.

In its hay days, the pool was once filled to capacity, with nutmeg being stored on its parking lot adjacent to its main entrance due to storage space limitations.The Pool had fallen victim to the post colonial period that saw the salvaging of estates all over Grenada. With a declining agricultural labor force and the expansion of competitors in foreign markets, this meant the eventual cessation of capital expenditures and renovation initatives. Our Gouyave Nutmeg Pool remains standing, more so as a symbolic structure of the last bastion of a colonial era, soon to be forgotten, as it awaits that eventual faith of decay.

Although the Pool continues to be the largest private sector employer in our parish dating back to over seventy five years, it is one which had received some scrutiny over the years for its labor practices and hazardous working conditions. But the more pressing economic concern is the relationship between the Grenada Cooperated Nutmeg Association (G.C.N.A.); our Ministry of Health (add, Safety) and the Nutmeg Producers. It is one, which in my opinion, had required a revisitation in light of the controling and parting interest that had existed at the time of its initial implementation and probably remained in place to this day.

But the Pool is not only part of an economic institution. Its iconic structure, centrally located in the epicenter of our town, adds definition to the symbiotic business relationship that exists in our structurally niched economy and commands recognition.

In our Grenada contemporary political history, the Pool workers had played a pivotal role in Sir. Eric Mathew Gairy's advent into politics. As a union leader and later, head of government, he had provided them and other estate workers with what they saw as "their economic emancipation", one which was desperately needed and may have catapulted Uncle to reverence among the "laborer class" that eventually wanted to "paint the sky red" if they were denied his leadership.

This may be unnerving to a lot of readers here, depending on which side of the economic spectrum they fell at the time. But since the Julien Fe`don's Revolution of 1795, literally no one saw it fitting to take up the mantel of liberation for our Grenadian people and challenge the British establishment until Uncle arrived in 1949. That Nutmeg Pool parking lot was one of Gairy's spring board to political notoriety or as some would say.....infamy.

But it was there, with the pool as a silhouette that Uncle had delivered his messages to the workers. Just imagine, as recently as 1955, nutmeg pool workers were earning $1.00 for a day's work. To put it in perspective, that was $5.00 for a whole week's work; $20.00 a month; $240.00 a year. No! vacation; No! Sick days and in some cases, parents had to seek their childrens help to finish their tasks in order for them to be paid.

"Ah like writing it dat way, it makes for easier digestion".

Sir. Eric Mathew Gairy fought and was able to secure a 10 cents or 10% increase for all. Within two years Uncle increased their wages to $1.20 later to $1.50 followed by $1.75. And all this was going on while the Bishops, Coards, Steeles and Bratwaits were sippingTea..."Tay" in the French Quarters with Allister Huges.

They never set foot on that Netmeg Pool Parking Lot.

Monsieur Louison from the French Quarters