Friday, January 27, 2012


The folks in Marystown must feel like they are caught up in a wicked case of Deja Vu, bad news follows bad news.

The boom-bust, roller coaster nature of a local economy, depending on the fishery and shipyard, continues to miss out on opportunities due to poor planning, and dare I say,  government ineptitude. 

Last spring, Kiewit Offshore Services pulled out of the race for the Joint Supply Ships because they had too much work and could not dedicate the resources to the bid. They had been shortlisted for unspecified work as part of a $35-billion overhaul of Canadian maritime infrastructure.

The province said it was on top of that file, working with the company, despite concerns from local Mayor Sam Synard that there was not enough engagement by the province. In fact, Synard was reprimanded by the local MHA, the Premier and the Minister of Business for suggesting that the province become more engaged in the major ship building competition. Premier Williams said Synard was  “asinine”, “ignorant” and “didn’t count.”

He did not try and pick a fight with the provincial government, he simply stated they needed to do more. The question I asked at the time was, would the government really let Billions in work slip by?  We were told by the local MHA, Clyde Jackman, then Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale and the Industry Minister that the government was very much engaged in the file. They were doing everything they could to support this bid.

A week before ExxonMobil is expected to announce where fabrication of the Hebron modules will be done, the province announced that Kiewit can only handle one module, instead of two at its Marystown yard. This means that $100-million worth of  fabrication work (and related spin-offs) could be headed west.

Talk about business sense and planning, or the lack thereof on the part of Kiewit Offshore Services. Talk about lack of planning and consultation by the province. Has the government not been working closely with Kiewit Offshore Services, Bull Arm and fabrication companies in this province to ensure every single opportunity, job and dollar related to Hebron is spent right here?

Why did the provincial government not come to the table earlier to assist in making strategic investments? Why are we just learning about this now,  just days before the contracts are let?  Why have they not enhanced the capacity in a sector that is ripe with opportunities? This is a significant loss to Marystown, the Burin Peninsula and the province.

It seems a bit of farce to this observer that the Premier and the Minister of Natural Resources are out on the Open Line Shows and the media suggesting that they still hopes to keep the over $100-million worth of work for the second module in the province. Minister Kennedy says the government is meeting with Hebron operator ExxonMobil to try to keep the work here, but he says capacity issues are limiting the province's options.

Go figure! Why the late end run? What such a reactive approach as opposed to a proactive one? Who dropped the ball? Why? Surely the  capacity issues are not new to the governments and those responsible for industrial development and benefits!

If this is what the government considers “ maximizing industrial benefits.” than they need to go back to the drawing board.

 "Oh wowsie wowsie woo woo. Miserable day, isn't it?"


Cyril Rogers said...

Peter, much of their spare cash is being siphoned off to NALCOR to build their mega-monstrosity. The lack of vision and planning ineptitude of this administration goes back for years but it is finally coming home to roost. Their incompetence is being exposed on a daily basis and this situation is no different.

The reactive nature of her responses doen't instil any confidence in me and I fear for the viability of the whole province. She is frankly incompetent and has nobody in her cabinet who can make any real inroads into straightening out this mess as long as she clings to power. I don't expect a Cabinet revolt but, as a people, we should be revolting over the arrogance and stupidity of this government.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Kiewit is still sour after the overruns on the local ferry contracts...just sayin,

Tony said...

All the talk about Government involvement is a bit odd to me. KOS is part of Kewitt - a very large company with buckets of cash on its books. I'd say that KOS didn't prepare properly becauee (1) they were a shoe-in for the work without having to be competitive, and (2) that probably were working to have the Government invest in infrastructure for them. I think that this is a mis-play on the part of KOS!

Wm. Murphy said...

@ Cyril...."Dunderdale clinging to power"

Are you for real? We just had an election less than 4 months ago where she, as leader, won a resounding majority. Resounding!!
Get obviously have no idea what you are talking about to flick out such nonsense