As the legal battle looms between Mount Pure Natural Spring Water and the Spicemas Corporation over who has control of the rights to sell bottled water during the Carnival Season, owners of Mount Pure are hoping that their concerns, can be put to rest once and for all, before the buildup to the 2020 season.
The issue over exclusive rights came to the fore over the 2019 carnival season, when Mount Pure was told by organisers of the 2019 carnival celebrations that the rights to sell was granted to one of their competitors, a main sponsor of the carnival activities.
That matter was challenged before the court by the Mount Pure establishment and after mounts before the court, getting pass a legal junction, the substantive issue had its first hearing before the civil court on Monday.
Defence lawyer for Mount Pure, Ruggles Ferguson spoke to members of the media concerning what transpired in the court and according to him, while a date is yet to be fixed for the next hearing there was a process of case management and moves are afoot to liaise with legal the team from the Spicemas Corporation to get the earliest possible date for the next hearing.
Ferguson said while the most likely date speaks to June 2020, there are concerns that this might be cutting it way to close to the carnival season. He is however hopeful that once all the legal submissions are in, efforts would be made to get an earlier hearing date and allow the court to decide as it relates to the way forward.
It would be in everyone’s interest Ferguson said, to have an early settlement to this matter, to avoid a repeat of last year and further legal implication. He further noted, given that Spicemas is a public body, there is a need for an open bidding process to avoid discrimination in the selection process for companies wishing to sponsor carnival activities.
He further added that while the fight this time is with Mount Pure, all they are asking, is for a transparent and level playing field where every company in Grenada would be afforded equal opportunity to sell their product at public events, and carnival he said is no exception.
Ian Thomas is one of the managers at the Mount Pure establishment and in speaking to members of the media after Monday’s court hearing said all they are looking for is fairness.
Looking at the June hearing date Thomas said his company is concerned that it may not be sufficient time to get their house in order in preparation for 2020 carnival season depending on the ruling of the court.
Thomas said while he understands that there is a legal process that must be followed, he finds it difficult to be told as a local company that they cannot operate in the same space in which they have been operating in for the entire year. He noted that Mount Pure is a dynamic business and it would be a travesty to allow one entity to say to them that they cannot operate in a particular space. The company he said just received a bronze medal for the best tasting water in the world, and to tell them they cannot sell water is sad.
As a local company, Thomas said, it is sad that they have to go before the court to defend their decision taken last year to sell a local product, however, if that’s what it takes to create a level playing field than they are prepared to do just that.
Rolanda Mc Queen is the brain behind Mount Pure water and she too finds it hard that she would have to spend thousands to defend what should be a right.
Mc Queen said what is sad about the situation is that at the end of the day, Grenada would be the loser since potential investors might not be willing to put up the same fight that Mount Pure is now putting forward or even spend the kind of money that has been put into a legal battle to defend what should be a right.