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CAL under fire for hiring practices

Parliament committee urges airline to restart process
Published: 
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Chairman of the Joint Select Committee on State Enterprises, David Small, second from right, responds to questions during a press briefing hosted at the Parliament Building, yesterday. Also in photo, from left, are members Adrian Leonce, Wade Mark and Fazal Karim. PICTURE SHIRLEY BAHADUR

Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) came under criticism yesterday for breaching its own recruitment policy.

With the safety of passengers and security in mind, the Joint Select Committee (JSC) on State Enterprises chaired by David Small, in its Fifth Report, has strongly recommended that the airline restart the process for all positions which were filled without conducting background security checks on applicants.

CAL’s chief executive officer Garvin Medera was also accused by committee member Wade Mark of ignoring, violating and breaching a number of policies.

“We cannot in 2018, ignore in a world where we have experienced acts of terrorism and for a company’s CEO to do so, it is the height of reckless conduct and behaviour and this CEO ought to be taken to task on this particular point,” Mark said.

JSC member, Fazal Karim admitted that the matter was previously brought up with CAL and added that he believes that they had sufficient time to ensure background checks are done.

Karim recommended that CAL should indicate to the committee who are the employees or what positions in which background checks are still pending, “and whether they are on the job, because we would not like to think that if anything happens untoward on the compound or in the air that we will lament this may have been one of the opportunities caused as a result of not doing or not having these background checks.”

Small said CAL’s new management is conducting a review of that policy to establish which positions would need security checks.

“They have flouted their own policy and hired persons adverse to their own policies and we have recommended that simply you would have to restart the process,” Small said. He however, left the mechanics to do such up to the airline.

Karim said that the JSC is also concerned that the recent recruitment and selection process engaged by CAL to recruit people to its management team without adhering to proper and established procedure. He disclosed that the number of new managers, about six, are former employees of Digicel T&T, “the former employer of the incumbent CEO at CAL.”

“The fact that the incumbent CEO sat on the interview panel that interviewed persons from Digicel, which is an obvious conflict of interest and breach of good human resource practice,” Karim said.

An additional area of concern identified by the JSC was CAL’s “continued practice” of seeking overseas pilots “without seeming to make an effort to establish whether any local pilots could be sourced.”

It was also disclosed that according to submissions received dated May 11, 2018, as at April 30, 2018, CAL owed an outstanding sum of $193.3 million to the T&T Airports Authority.

Contact for a response, CAL’s head of corporate communications Dionne Ligoure said that CAL is awaiting receipt of the official report from the Joint Select Committee.

“Once the report is received and reviewed the airline will be in a position to respond to your questions,” Ligoure said.

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