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US expert hired to overhaul airports

...but workers fear for their jobs
Published: 
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Dan Capshaw

An American consultant has been retained by the Airports Authority (AATT) to conduct an overhaul of the organisational structure of T&T’s airports. The consultant, Dan Capshaw of Shiftworks Solutions LLC, arrived in T&T on Monday. However, several senior management personnel told the T&T Guardian the overhaul Capshaw has been brought to conduct could see several employees being put on the breadline.

 

 

The T&T Guardian understands that several high-ranking security officials, as well as human resource personnel, were already been sent home last year. Several other employees could also be given the axe following the exercise, the T&T Guardian understands. Capshaw met with AATT board members, led by interim chairman Carlyslie Marks, and members Ruthvin Goddard and Premchan Sahadeo yesterday. 

 

Also present at the meeting were the deputy general manager, corporate services, and legal advisor Hayden Newton and AATT acting general manager Dayanand Birju. The meeting, sources say, came after a letter written to the ministerial team of the National Security Council, headed by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, by a senior AATT member. The letter was copied to the Ministry of National Security and was obtained by the T&T Guardian.

 

The letter, dated March 11, 2013, highlights several inefficiencies in security protocol at the Piarco and ANR International Airports and the inability of executive board members to agree on several issues. 

 

 

The conflict, according to the letter, arises from the “senior management team at AATT, who have continuously and deliberately withheld vital and critical information of the AATT security and operational shortcomings as outlined in internal and external audits from successive AATT boards and by extension the Government of T&T.”

 

Noting that all airports globally are answerable to international regulatory bodies, a source close to the AATT noted that the action of certain senior officials “has the potential to not only lead to the downgrading of our airports but to very serious embarrassment to the Government of T&T.” Security officers, it was learnt, stopped receiving ongoing training in contradiction of the requirements of civil aviation regulations. 

 

As a result of this, both airports are undermanned as there is a shortage of security officers and the security department is unable to operate efficiently. Efforts to contact Newton to ascertain the cost of Capshaw’s services were unsuccessful, as calls to his cellphone went unanswered.

 

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Chandresh Sharma says he is unaware that the security committee, established by the Ministry of National Security in September last year, to ensure that security mechanisms at Piarco and ANR Airports, had been disbanded. He made the comment in a brief telephone interview when asked about the reason(s) the Airports Authority (AATT) security committee had been disbanded. “I am not aware of that,” Sharma said, before he disconnected the call.

 

The AATT Act states that the security committee shall consist of a chairman to be appointed by the chairman of the National Security Council, which is the Prime Minister; the chairman of the Airports Authority; the Chief of Defence Staff; the Commanding Officer of the Regiment; the Commissioner of Police; the Chief Fire Officer and a senior officer appointed by the chairman of the National Security Council.

 

The act further states that “the security committee is accountable directly to the Prime Minister and in their absence to the minister responsible for national security.” T&T Guardian investigations have revealed that the committee met last September and agreed, inter alia, to establish a sub-committee, comprising personnel from the AATT. The mandate of the committee was to conduct a comprehensive review of security at the two airports. 

 

However, this committee was disbanded three months ago without any of the security mechanisms being implemented.

 

 

ABOUT SHIFTWORK SOLUTIONS LLC

On its Web site, Shiftwork Solutions LLC listed itself as a leading consulting company solving shift work problems for organisations with multi-shift operations. Our solutions are designed to satisfy business requirements, while also meeting the needs of the affected employees. We have helped more than 200 companies in a variety of industries to develop successful shift solutions.

 

The typical process we follow involves three steps. The first step is to understand the business requirements. We conduct a detailed analysis of the current operations to build a solid business case for changing the schedules. The second step is to identify several potential schedule concepts that can be adapted successfully. We help the employees to understand the business requirements and need for change. 

 

Then we involve them in developing a solution by asking for their input on schedule concepts. The final step involves refining two to three potential solutions, including the necessary pay and work policy adjustments. Each solution should satisfy the needs of management and employees alike.

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