After another discussion with provincial government employees, Abbas Jafarnia says the prospects of him keeping Maritime Steel operating in New Glasgow is slim.
He said he’s provided more of the information requested by the province, but still hasn’t seen any assistance coming his way.
“From my experience and the way they responded to me there is no hope,” he said.
He said running a business is complicated at the best of times. But “in this case it’s not a normal business anymore. It’s all politics.”
Jafarnia has said he is currently working out a deal to have equipment shipped from New Glasgow to a business near Niagara Falls. The only thing he is waiting for he said is for the person interested in the equipment to purchase a building large enough to house it. That could happen in a month or even sooner, he said.
The province said it has tried to work with Jafarnia. In a letter to The News recently Graham Steele, Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, stated some of the reasons the province hasn’t provided support.
“We’ve been working with Mr. Jafarnia for a long time, and he has not met basic conditions we would expect from any business asking for support from the government: a commercial bank account and credit facilities, private equity, adequate security for the loan and enough profitable orders to support the business plan,” Steele stated. “For example, we’ve seen no confirmation of an appropriate banking relationship that would allow Mr. Jafarnia to deal with U.S. customers, which his business plan depends on.”
Jafarnia argues that he has provided everything he can.
“There is some stuff there is clearly no way for me to provide the information,” he said. “If they want to help the worker they need to be negotiable.”
Carl Spears, who worked at Maritime Steel for 16 years, is still without a job and hoping something will be done to get the business back in operation. He said it’s frustrating to see funding going to other businesses around the province that seem in his opinion more high risk including millions to the Port Hawkesbury mill.
He said some of his former coworkers have had to go work at fast food places. Some are travelling back and forth to Halifax for jobs. Others, like himself, have found nothing.
“They’re waiting and hoping the plant opens up,” he said.
He said the workers have a petition going to raise awareness of their situation with the hope of getting the government to act.
“We want to make sure with the upcoming election that everyone is aware of the situation at Maritime Steel,” he said.