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Former SAUTT employees to get package this week
Some 78 members of the Special Anti-Crime Unit of T&T (SAUTT) whose contracts were terminated after the unit was scrapped could receive their compensation packages by this week. In a brief telephone interview with the Sunday Guardian, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Jennifer Boucaud-Blake said the issue was “actively engaging the attention” of the ministry and should be resolved soon.
She said an error had occurred with some of the forms submitted to the ministry and they were trying to sort things out. “Some of the information they (former employees) provided needed to be clarified, and together with the administration of the National Security Operations Centre (NSOC) this is being done,” Boucaud-Blake said.
In fact, several of the employees had already been contacted and their issues rectified, she said. Initial reports had said the former employees received an e-mail on October 3, last year from interim head of administration and human resources Patricia Seepaul telling them Boucaud-Blake had granted approval for the extension of the agency and its existing staff from October 1 to 31.
The agencies involved—the National Security Operations Centre (NSOC) and the National Security Training Unit (NSTU)—formed part of SAUTT. Last December, National Security Minister Jack Warner said the former employees would receive three months’ pay as a parting financial package from the now defunct unit.
Last Monday night, Opposition Member of Parliament for Port-of-Spain North/St Ann’s West Patricia McIntosh asked when the payments would be made to the former employees. McIntosh was at the time contributing to the Finance Bill 2013 in the House of Representatives, Tower D, Waterfront Centre, Port-of-Spain.
In February 2011, then national security minister Brigadier John Sandy announced the elite unit would be dismantled and merged with other intelligence agencies. At that time, Sandy had announced that SAUTT would be merged with other intelligence units to form one central entity known as the National Security Intelligence Agency (NSIA).
Sandy said then this was one of the many recommendations made by the four-member steering committee appointed by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to determine the future of SAUTT.
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