A "difference of opinion" between chairman of Evolving Tecknologies and Enterprise Development Company Ltd (eTeck), Jewan Ramcharitar and his line Minister Stephen Cadiz resulted in Ramcharitar's resignation yesterday."It's no big issue. I did it for personal reasons. I realised I committed myself too widely," Ramcharitar confirmed to the T&T Guardian.Cadiz said Ramcharitar's resignation was based on a "difference of opinion."He did not elaborate.Ramcharitar, campaign manager for Dr Tim Gopeesingh during the last general elections, did not say what were those differences."I am actually working on a project in the public service arena on a full-time basis and my time at eTeck is eroding the time and attention I pay to that," he said.
Just what that project is, he won't say.Ramcharitar, a retired partner at Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC), was appointed to chair eTeck last November. He chaired his first board meeting on November 3, 2010.But despite the "considerable amount of work" he says that needs to be done at eTeck, he believes that he's left eTeck in good hands."We've just begun assembling a new team. We've appointed a new president and other appointments are imminent," he said.
Under Ramcharitar's nine-month stewardship several executives resigned. Among them former acting president, Beverly John, former vice president property management, Nesha Kochar and former vice president of busines development, Wendy Fitzwilliam.The company had first advsertised for posts, which were already filled, without notice given to respectives managers. It resulted in legal letters being served on behalf of those managers.Kelvin Mahabir, the former deputy chairman of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), is now eTeck's president.
Dismissing as 'rumour' a question as to whether eTeck was about to be shut down, Ramcharitar said the institution was "absolutely vital.""I believe eTeck is viable. It's a requirement to have an institution which does investment sourcing. Investments are the lifeblood of the economy," he said.As chair of eTeck, he was charged with overseeing the US$25 million refurbishment of the Vanguard Hotel in Tobago (VHL). He gave the assurance that the project would be completed by its expected November 1 deadline.
"The funds have been approved. We don't have the cash in hand as yet. But the executives have been doing all that is required to ensure that the project will be completed on time. The executive team and the support staff have been extremely diligent given the tight timeframe they had to work with," he said. The US$25 million was allocated in the 2011 Budget but two months short of a new budget, eTeck is now receiving it's allotment, sources told the Guardian.
The T&T Guardian obtained a memo sent to eTeck's executive leadership team on November 6, 2010 by Ramcharitar.In Ramcharitar's analysis of 'eTeck today,' it states: "Using the mission, deliverables and initiatives pursued and being pursued, it appears that eTeck has created little value to date for T&T, given the substantial use of resources."
Ramcharitar also found fault with "a myriad of failed or heading to failure initiatives such as: major expenditures on "Investment, Promotions and Business Development" but little value, nothing of significance can be shown to have been done to diversify the "production" and "export base" of T&T's non-energy sector and that "the Vanguard Hotel in Tobago was acquired for a substantial sum and has required very substantial upgrade investment with great uncertainty of likely value creating operation and return.He stated:"eTeck has lost its moorings, if it ever had one."
"More enquiry is needed in respect to the matters raised but it is unlikely the negative picture painted will easily change," he wrote.A response memo was sent four days later signed by five executives- some former and two still employed- and copied to MTI's permanent secretary, Carl Francis.The memo contained notes which consider Ramcharitar's conclusions "subjective" and stated: "It is the view of the management that the conclusion is quite premature without a more detailed examination of the facts or deeper interaction with the mangement."Attorney General Anand Ramlogan is presently pursuing civil proceedings against eTeck's former board.