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SSL may not live out life of lease – Union

SSL may not live out life of lease – Union

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Given the current state of affairs of the Marina located at Ottley Hall, president of the National Workers Movement (NWM) Noel Jackson has questioned whether the St Vincent Shipyard Limited (SSL) would be around to live out the life of its lease.

Jackson, during a press conference last Tuesday at the NWM office in Paul’s Avenue, claimed that the SSL is in clear violation of the lease agreement signed with the Ottley Hall Marina.{{more}}

That agreement took effect just under a year ago.

According to Jackson, SSL was supposed to pump more than US$2 million into the project over the space of three years, to upgrade the shipyard and to improve the working conditions of the workers.

He said that half of that investment was to be made within the first year of the lease, but with 10 months already gone and since no monies have been devoted to the project, the management of the shipyard could lose the lease on the property.

 “As far as we are concerned, nothing like that has been done so far, and the project is almost one year old… .

“At the moment at Ottley Hall, not a single piece of tool has been bought, other than what St Vincent Shipyard Limited met there. Not a single piece.

“No forklift truck, no crane; all the things that the lease agreement has outlined to take place has not taken place, and the workers have to basically work under those conditions. They are working in rags.

“It’s hard for me to say… because in truth and in fact, what I see and what I read is two totally different things,” Jackson told the media.

Jackson also pointed to a letter written by Prime Minster Dr Ralph Gonsalves to SSL head Daniel Raviotti, decrying the conditions at the Shipyard, as evidence that the company has contravened the lease agreement.

He said he is aware that the Government would want the project to be successful and may go soft on SSL, which he has no problems with, so long as the company lives up to its commitments to the workers and the country.

The union leader described the SSL, led by Raviotti, as “broken,” and suggested that the company is better off packing up and leaving, and make way for investors who have their sights on the Ottley Hall Marina.

Jackson said that he is aware that there is interest in the project, which has been around for close to 25 years.

 “I will tell you this; there are people waiting in the wings to take over the Ottley Hall project. An effort is being made right now to put together investors to take over Ottley Hall.

“So, if Mr Raviotti is out of the country because the lease is revoked, or he decides that it is better for him to be out than in that situation, is not going to be dormant for long.

“Some local investors have pulled out principally because of Mr Raviotti’s attitude and behaviour and what they see happening there, so I don’t know if they are going to be there for another year… but for what I am seeing, all things being equal, they should be more out than in.” (JJ)

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