Wayde Rowsell, mayor of St. Lawrence, attacked the position of MHA Christopher Mitchelmore, NDP critic for fisheries, in the Sept. 15 Telegram (“NDP fisheries critic questioned”).
Mitchelmore opposed the recent transfer of a sea cucumber processing license to Ocean Choice International (OCI) in St. Lawrence.
Rowsell wrote, “It is obvious that the MHA knows very little about the sea cucumber fishery — in particular, the resource and the importance of regional distribution of processing licences and regional distribution of benefits.”
I doubt Rowsell expects to convince people that Mitchelmore is ignorant.
Although some NDP MHAs are new to the House, each had significant achievements before being elected.
Instead, it seems that Rowsell is taking credit for bringing jobs to his town. He says he supported OCI, “with tremendous resolve and without limitation.”
However, it was the Fish Processing Licensing Board (FPLB) and the minister who made that decision.
Rather than Rowsell’s narrow view, we should think about the good of the province over the long haul.
The Fogo Island Co-op was the only plant processing sea cucumber.
This decision will divert some livelihood away from the co-op, in spite of it being an example over 40 years of how to benefit Newfoundlanders from processing our marine resources.
On the other hand, the decision gives product to OCI, which has a poor record of keeping long-term processing jobs in Newfoundland.
What have we gained, as a province, from this decision?
This decision goes against good old common sense, and we need an explanation.