Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit wants his government to takeover the operations of Colgate Palmolive which is closing doors on Dominica.
The closure of Dominica Coconut Products (DCP), which produces raw oil and soap, puts 94 people on the breadline.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said government wants to enter a private treaty with Colgate-Palmolive to take over the DCP property, located in the western community of Belfast, and keep the operations going.
Skerrit said he intends to meet with the president of the company very soon to advance the discussions.
“It is the government’s intention to continue the operations, once we can settle on this agreement that we’ve put forward before Colgate-Palmolive for the acquisition of the property. We do believe that the factory plays an important role in our national economy, through the foreign exchange, the creation of employment and also manufacturing,” he said.
This is not the first time the Dominica government has made a move to acquire the company.
Skerrit said his administration had offered to purchase DCP some years ago, and reintroduce some of the products that had been discontinued.
That proposal was modified and submitted last Thursday.
While the government waits to see whether its latest efforts will be successful, it has assured it will assist the displaced employees.
“The government will provide them with the necessary support to mitigate against the loss of their employment and, of course, we will meet with them very soon to discuss with them the way forward,” he said, noting that government had previously “tremendous” support to workers who had been sent home by the same company on a previous occasion.
Skerrit added that Colgate-Palmolive will not only pay the employees what is legally due to them, but has committed to giving them extra.
“We have spoken to Colgate-Palmolive and we’ve said to them very clearly from the government’s standpoint, that while we recognize that the laws make certain provisions for severance and it defines the benefits which each employee would be entitled to, based on the number of years employed, we also called on Colgate-Palmolive to go beyond the legal mandate and to provide additional financial and other benefits to the employees,” he disclosed.
“They have given us their assurances that they will go beyond what the legislation has dictated and we look forward to them honouring that particular commitment,” he informed.
Skerrit said that over the last 15 years his administration has provided significant concessions and incentives to Colgate-Palmolive, and the current concession regime “still has a life of several years”.
News source: caribbean360.com