Mr Hylton said and the MICAF needs to respond to the growing concerns of the several small business operators at the complex about the non-transparent manner in which the facility is being divested. The structure is one of several such facilities built by the Government in the early to mid-1970’s to house small business operators struggling to find appropriate facilities in which to start and incubate small businesses in an effort to grow the economy through MSME participation.
“The several such facilities throughout the island have served the MSME sector well over the past decades and have a continuing role to play in providing the critical support the sector needs to grow and develop and to make its contribution to national development. Any sale of this or any of these facilities, must take fully into account the interests of the occupants, many of whom have been operating successfully in these facilities for several decades and contributing to the nation’s GDP growth and employment.” Mr Hylton said.
He said that the situation at White Marl is particularly concerning to the occupants, one or more of whom had responded to a Request For Proposal (RFP) issued by the FCJ at or around May, 2019, but who until now had not received a written response to their proposal to acquire the premises and operate it as a going concern, thus securing the interests of its current occupants.
“The Government has not even dignified the proposal by the small enterprises currently occupying the facility with an answer. The resulting uncertainty on the part of the small businesses, has given rise to a growing fear that the facility is being privatised in secrecy and against their interest.” Mr Hylton stated.
The Shadow Minister is calling on the Government to stop this irregular process and to engage with the small business operators with a view to resolving their legitimate concerns. Further, this action is inconsistent with the mandate of the FCJ to provide affordable accommodation for the small business operators to ensure their participation in the nation’s economic growth and development.
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