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The ordeal of a business entrepreneur

I would like all my People in Grenada to know that for five months I have applied for work permits for two South African professionals. As an investor and dedicated medical practitioner, I have been made to wait over 4 to 6 months and have been unsuccessful.

Those are the words of Trinidad-born eye specialist Dr. David Maharaj who has been expressing frustration at the slow pace at which the Ministry of Labour has been handling matters relating to his business located at the entrance of Lance Aux Epines in the south of the island.

In a message sent to THE NEW TODAY, Dr. Maharaj complained that he has paid the government Treasury for one work permit and is still awaiting the other but faces the prospect of not getting the person due to sloppiness in Grenada.

“Now the person whose work permit is approved, now has found another job elsewhere. What a country and system,” he said.

According to the medical professional, he cannot continue with this kind of attitude and might be forced to pull out of Grenada.

He said: “…In the next few weeks decisions would be made to decide to continue in this anti-investor, anti-medical climate or shut down all health facilities that we have developed in conjunction with GIDC.”

This business provides Ophthalmology Services comprising Clinical, Laser and Surgical work, as well as a new entity called Pharmacy Sunday to Sunday.

A leading private sector executive has said that the government should not take the Dr. Maharaj issue lightly as it can have implications for Grenada’s standing in the global “Doing Business Index.”

When contacted a government official indicated that Dr. Maharaj submitted “defective applications and he was notified of this since June.”

“He has refused to cure the defects in his application. Hence a work permit has not been issued,” said the government official.

The Eye Specialist has denied that this happened.

He told THE NEW TODAY: “So honestly … had I been notified of these deficiencies, don’t you think I would have acted?

Dr.Maharaj related an encounter with a senior employee in the Ministry of Labour.

“I visited this Department on 5th October. We spoke to Ms. Frederick who had advised on the deficiencies.

(1). Applicant’s qualification not notarised.

(2). No proof of the job being advertised.

I asked – why was this not communicated to us in writing? No comment!

We were advised to get the applicant’s qualification notarised. Lisa Taylor (attorney-at-law) notarised on the 7th and this was submitted on the 7th October.

Proof of advertising the job was also submitted on the 7th. It’s now the second of November. So are they saying there are more deficiencies? Because the deficiencies were dealt with. Nobody cares. So up goes my business in flames.

“The South African whose work permit was approved (has) now confirmed that she accepted a job elsewhere. Government officials are unwilling to refund me the $3000 that was paid for this lady,” said the doctor.

Dr. Maharaj pointed at deficiencies within the Ministry of Labour.

He said: “They now found the document that I am accused of not submitting in the file. That mistake has cost me loss of a potential employee, loss of business. If I take a lawyer and sue and win, I still would not get paid.”

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