Workers recently laid off by BEV Enterprise, the seafood processing plant at Houston are to receive help from the government.
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan in a recent interview with Department of Public Information (DPI), said the government is committed to cushioning the socio-economic impact on the workers, most of whom are single-parent mothers.
More than 300 workers of the privately-owned BEV Enterprises will be off the job by mid-next month.
At least 17 trawlers owned by individuals and one company are faced with the possibility of docking their vessels until they can secure new employment.
“It was sad to hear that he (Bruce Vieira) is closing, and it was also sad for the people who are employed, largely women, and the government is in talks or are about to be in talks with him to see if not him what else can be done to support these women,” Minister Jordan said.
In addition, the Minister of Finance said the Ministry of Social Protection will also be approaching the laid-off workers to offer them guidance and assistance. In keeping with government’s policy of encouraging small business development, they will be encouraged to become self-employed.
“We have a SLED programme (Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development) programme that offers outright grants for individuals. Particularly of the kind of these women, to do startups in the various fields that they may wish to follow, and of course we have the funding that we have put under the Small Business [Bureau], Ministry of Business, and a number of other different funds that we have available where we hope that these individuals can access,” Minister Jordan explained.
He also condemned as peddlers of doom and gloom, persons who were quick to lay the blame for BEV’s closure at the feet of government.
He said Bruce Vieira is an honest and respectable man who quickly dispelled the idea that he was not receiving government’s support.
“It is just that general challenges that, at my age, I don’t want to have to continue. Basically, it’s a long time I wanted to sell, but it is just that I decided to quit now, and I have given the people proper notice. The industry has gotten too complicated and too many challenges,” Vieira is reported to have told an online news outlet recently.
Vieira had also indicated that it will be an uphill task for his company to be certified in keeping with deadlines of next year.
Vieira, in business with BEV Processors over 30 years, had also pointed to lower prices for catch in recent times.
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