June 19th, 2007
"BAD DEAL FOR BURIN
Grand Bank MHA Judy Foote voiced her concerns regarding the deal to sell FPIs asset last week, with regards to the companys operation in Burin.
Under the tentative deal, Ocean Choice International will take over FPI's primary processing plant at Marystown, while High Liner Foods Inc. of Nova Scotia will purchase the secondary processing plant in Burin.
She questioned why the approved FPI deal did not include a right-of-first-refusal provision on the sale on the Burin plant, as it did with the FPI facility in Marystown should the new operator decide it no longer wanted to operate the facility.
Acting Minister of Fisheries Trevor Taylors response to Ms. Foote's questioning on the tentative deal was "it was not a business that we want to get into. Ms. Foote indicated "this government had an opportunity to ensure that the plant in Burin, being bought from FPI by a company from outside the province, could be acquired by government for fair market value should the new owners decide that they wanted to offload the plant.
They essentially failed to ensure the long-term security of that facility and the employment opportunities that are connected to the plant for residents of the area. The terms of the sale are such that if High Liner decides to close the plant within five years they will incur penalties, but after five years they can close up shop and continue to run their business out of Nova Scotia.
Burin-Placentia West MHA Clyde Jackman expressed disbelief with Ms. Footes decision to speak out against the deal. He insisted the arrangement would breathe new life into Fortune, Burin, and Marystown"