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Stewart mum on resignation
Has the CEO of the T&T Agri-Business Association (TTABA) Vassel Stewart resigned? While Stewart remained tight-lipped on the issue, Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj said he was advised by TTABA’s chairman Joe Pires that Stewart’s resignation was expected last Thursday.
Contacted last Friday, Stewart, when questioned if he had resigned, said he had no comment to make. “That matter is not one that I could comment on right now.” Asked if he was escorted out of his Tunapuna office, Stewart chuckled. Stewart said next week he would be in a better position to talk.
An e-mail dated October 25, 2012, sent to Pires from a TTABA employee read, “He ( Stewart) has not yet handed in his resignation as promised. It may not be as smooth and simple as the chair was left to believe yesterday. Joe you have given him (Stewart) three options and he chose to resign peacefully.”
The e-mail further stated that, “We are at risk with security and signature of cheques etc. Let’s not let this reach a lock out and cause any further embarrassment to (name called). As we suspected, is the management really in charge and more information withheld from the board?”
Questioned about Stewart, Pires said, “I have no letter of resignation from him. I cannot confirm or deny this.” An article in last Sunday’s Guardian revealed that TTABA had incurred losses of $72.6 million between 2007 to June 2011 in an audit done by the Ministry of Finance Investments Division Central Audit Committee, dated November 2011.
Stewart, in defence of his organisation, described the report as biased and inconsistent with the objectives of its developmental programme, which was never established on profitability. Stewart said Maharaj had made it clear that he would not fund TTABA unless he controlled it and appointed a board of directors, chairman and CEO.
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