Friday, January 19, 2018

PTSC GM queries $.25m contract

'INCONSISTENT': Ronald Forde


GENERAL manager of the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) Ronald Forde has written to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport Clint Ramcharan expressing concern over the award of a $250,000 contract under former PTSC chairman Terrence Beepath.

On December 15, Forde wrote Ramcharan voicing concerns about the process used to grant consultant Christopher Lewis a contract.

Forde said the entire process was inconsistent and a “decision was made in the absence of the Board of Directors and the Tenders Committee”.

A source told the Sunday Express thus far, Lewis has submitted a draft of a strategic plan to move PTSC forward but is yet to receive payment.

The Sunday Express contacted Lewis on Thursday morning, and he said: “I can confirm I have not received any monies from PTSC.”

Asked to comment on the project he was contracted for and the process of selection, Lewis said: “I cannot talk to you about that. I will need to seek permission from the board to make such disclosures.”

The Sunday Express also contacted Forde on Friday and he would not comment on the questions posed to him.

“That is an internal matter and I have no comment to make,” he said.

In his letter, Forde also accused another PTSC official of being dishonest in stating the procedure to acquire Lewis' expertise was above board.

Information reaching the Sunday Express indicated that Forde's letter came on the heels of correspondence from the official which the Sunday Express has in its possession.

The correspondence to him was sent on December 9, instructing that Lewis be paid.

In the official's letter, it was stated that Lewis was among three individuals/companies which tendered for the contract.

Checks by the Sunday Express indicated that one of the companies did not place a tender.

Efforts to contact both companies have been unsuccessful.

In a letter dated December 14, Forde claimed that no authorisation was given to approve the $250,000 payment and reiterated that the process used to choose Lewis was flawed.

On December 17, the official wrote Forde asking that he rescind his letter with the allegations.

The Sunday Express understands this was not done.

Efforts to contact Ramcharan and the official have been unsuccessful.

In an unrelated issue, the Public Service Commission (PSC) suspended Ramcharan later in December for failing to report to it that he had been convicted twice for drinking and driving under the influence of alcohol.

The suspension letter stated he was suspended indefinitely until the PSC completed its investigation into the matter.


Beepath quit after 'ordeal'


Beepath resigned as PTSC chairman on December 1.

Contacted on December 16, Beepath refused to say why he resigned, explaining only that there were “issues with the management which caused opposition with the board”.

“That, as well as other matters which I don't want to discuss, were the reasons I resigned,” he said.

In November, Forde was sent on leave which he acquired during his tenure at PTSC.

The leave was in excess of 80 days.

Forde's contract comes to an end on February 28.

Following that decision, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan instructed that he be reinstated immediately.

In an interview with the Express, Sinanan had said, “I, as the Minister, asked the board to revisit it because I had some things planned out for PTSC for the next two to three weeks and I wanted him to be there.”

On December 1, Beepath's resignation letter to Finance Minister Colm Imbert—which was copied to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Sinanan—stated, “During the short period for which I have found the experience to be extremely challenging, having particular regard to the recent attacks on both my professional and personal life.

“The entire ordeal has caused tremendous pressure on me and by extension, my family, and upon reflection, I have decided that it is within my best interest to demit office at this time.

“In the circumstances, it has been extremely difficult to work with the management of the Corporation as I was faced with much opposition to more forward in creating a better organisation. The recent reinstatement of the general manager has further created an even more challenging working environment.

“It has also been brought to my attention that my personal safety and that of my family has been compromised. My decision is based on all these factors and much more.”

Sexual allegations report


The findings of the Gregory Baker report into allegations of misconduct against Beepath will be handed in tomorrow.

Baker was retained by the board following a complaint by an employee of the PTSC who accused Beepath of sexual impropriety towards her.

The allegations are contained in an e-mail dated October 27, 2016, copied to board members.

A copy of the e-mail was also dropped off at the Central Police Station by the woman.

On November 8, 2016, the employee officially wrote to PTSC board members informing it of the complaint.

In an interview with the Sunday Express, Beepath had denied the events outlined in the woman's letter, saying the allegation of sexual misconduct arose only when the employee wanted an $8,645 increase in salary.

The former chairman had said he requested the employee to officially write and when the matter was brought up with the board, the request was denied.