Last update: 11-Dec-2013 6:16 am
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Minister on suspension of NP CEO: I don’t want to prejudice probe
Energy and Energy Affairs Minister Kevin Ramnarine has refused to comment on the suspension of National Petroleum CEO Kenneth Mohammed, saying he did not want to prejudice the investigation against him. Mohammed was sent home by the NP board on Wednesday but no details have been made public regarding the reason for his suspension. Ramnarine commented on the suspension at the closing ceremony of the onshore bid round at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain.
He also noted the matter relating to the firing of 68 NP workers on October 22 had been referred to the Ministry of Labour for conciliation. “There was the termination of the 68 workers. That matter is headed to the Ministry of Labour for conciliation. Of course that is a matter which involves the union for the company and the management of NP. I will only say that it is headed in that direction, towards conciliation,” he said. Giving overall comments on what has been going on at NP in the wake of the suspension of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kenneth Mohammed, he said: “I think what we really want to achieve is a harmonious environment at NP. I have spoken to the Minister of Labour (Errol McLeod) today, actually, and we had a discussion on the matter and he has advised that it is headed to his court now.
It is headed to the Ministry of Labour so I would leave it to Mr McLeod now, who has vast experience in these matters, to handle. We will abide by whatever is the outcome of the conciliation.”
On the suspension of the CEO of NP, he said: “I was advised by the chairman of the board (Neil Gosine) that the CEO has been suspended and, of course, that’s a very serious situation. “This morning, I met with both the CEO and the chairman separately, before Cabinet, to hear the different views. A preliminary report has been submitted to the board of NP. “I have not seen that report because I have not physically been in my office for about 36 hours because we were at TGU (La Brea) yesterday and then we had the ministry’s Divali function.” He added: “The suspension was based on that preliminary report so what has happened is that we are going to ask for a further investigation into the reasons for the suspension of the CEO and I will await the outcome of that investigation.”
Questioned about the reasons for the suspension that would have been given to him verbally, he said: “Well, I have spoken to some of the directors and I wouldn’t want to comment on that, lest I prejudice the oncoming investigation.” On the removal of the National Quarries chairman, Mitra Ramkhelawan, he said he received a letter on Wednesday from the remaining directors saying they would have taken a decision in the best interest of the country. Asked if a new board is being considered, he said: “We are actually looking for suitably qualified persons to lead the board of National Quarries. I would think at a company like that you would need people with a background in geology and law and so on.”
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