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CDA boss in limbo as board faces sacking
Up to late yesterday afternoon, Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) chairman Danny Solomon was still in the dark about whether he will be retained or be relieved of his duties with the rest of the board of directors. Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie said on Tuesday he would recommend to Cabinet the CDA board should be changed.
His announcement came after news broke that the CDA had asked Telecommunications Services of T&T (TSTT) for the telephone records of a T&T Guardian journalist to find out who in the authority had leaked information to her for a story. Asked yesterday if the minister had contacted the CDA about plans to remove the board and if he would be kept on as chairman, Solomon said:
“The authority is still awaiting instructions on the way forward regarding the board.” Asked how the CDA felt about the minister's decision, he said: “We will abide by whatever decision is made.” As to whether the CDA had found out who in the organisation had given information to the media, Solomon gave another brief answer: “Investigations are ongoing.”
Tewarie, asked if Solomon or anyone else from the board would be retained, said he had sent a note to Cabinet and was awaiting its decision. “Cabinet will decide who goes and who stays,” he added. TSTT chairman Everald Snaggs could not be reached yesterday to find out how investigations into the leak of the reporter’s telephone records were proceeding.
The T&T Guardian was told Snaggs was in a meeting and would respond when it was over. But up to press time, he did not return the call. Snaggs is also head of security at the CDA. TSTT’s union, the Communications Workers Union (CWU), is planning to picket Public Utilities Minister Nizam Baksh’s St Clair, Port-of-Spain, office tomorrow to protest any intended witchhunt of any staff member.
The CWU said it would not support any witchhunt to find a scapegoat while the leak of the telephone records may have had the authorisation of political appointees at the CDA. The CDA’s board split after the telephone records story was published, with seven of the nine members issuing a disclaimer distancing themselves from the matter. Solomon and Christopher Street were left on the other side.
The disgruntled faction is claiming that statutory meetings are no longer held and key decisions are made without consulting them. It claimed staff members’ services were being terminated or they were posted elsewhere.
Giving an explanation for the rumblings within the CDA, Solomon said the authority had been rebranded and repositioned as a property development facilitator. Further, there have been human resource changes and industrial relations matters had been settled, he said.
He added: “At the present time there is a marked climate of change at the CDA as the organisation moves forward in getting things right to facilitate the organisation’s objectives. “Being aware of this, the CDA has put in place an employee assistance programme in order to assist its employees in adapting to and managing the changes taking place at the organisation.”
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