OCI Leader and Premier Square Off

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SOURIS, P.E.I. — The saga between Ocean Choice International (OCI) and the Prince Edward Island government continues with CEO, Martin Sullivan, responding to Premier Robert Ghiz’s comments about the decision to close the seafood purveyor’s Souris lobster plant — laying off 300 workers.

This comes after Ghiz reportedly received a last minute request for financial assistance before the plant shutdown Monday. “We were given ultimatums for 24 hours, 48 hours, or they were going to announce a shut down. No one in their right mind can make the best possible decision in short periods of time like that,” the premier said at a press conference earlier this week. “That is called scare tactics and coming in and basically putting a gun to someone’s head. We did not want to go down that road.”

Sullivan responded yesterday. “Expressions such as ‘sultimatums,’s ‘sholding a gun to our head,’s and similar utterances by the premier are not only untrue and not based on fact,” he said in a press release. “They are simply inflammatory attempts to rally political support and do nothing to help get people back to work.”
According to Ghiz Ocean Choice owes the provincial government $10 million and the premier is launching legal action to get it back.

Meanwhile, the government has stepped in to provide assistance to the workers who lost their job at the Souris plant. A series of initiatives underway include meetings between the government and the workers to assess needs and employment opportunities; a government plan to contact business to indentify jobs that suit OCI workers; government-paid wage and transportation assistance; and meetings between the province and the P.E.I. Fisherman’s Association, buyers and Island processors to determine how the plant closure will affect them.

 

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