MORE than 300 employees of the Strategic Services Agency (SSA), the National Security Operations Centre (NSOC) and the National Security Training Unit (NSTU) may find themselves on the breadline as of October 31.
Several employees of NSOC, on October 3, received an e-mail from Interim Head of Administration and Human Resources, Patricia Seepaul informing them that approval has been granted for the extension of the NSOC and existing staff from October 1 to 31.
Seepaul said the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security has advised that this is the last extension for NSOC.
The NSOC was set up to be co-ordinating agency between the multiple arms of the government's security apparatus after the dismantling of the Special Anti-Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (SAUTT).
The Express understands that employees of the NSTU were similarly informed by interim head Amber Denoon.
An Express source said it is believed that several employees of the SSA will be similarly affected.
"Because of what they (SSA) employees do, they are kind of tip-toeing around them. They deal with intelligence and they don't know what those employees know and what they would do so they are a little afraid to let them go,'' the source said.
"None of the organisations were ever legalised. Both the NSTU and NSOC were functioning just like SAUTT. Now they are sending home all these workers so close to Christmas.
"It is not that they are closing down these organisations, but a lot of people are keeping quiet in the hope that they would be re-hired.''
The source said Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said, when she assumed office, that SAUTT workers would not be fired but absorbed into other units.
"If you send people home without a gratuity or any form of compensation, you're firing them, not so?
"At the moment the SSA staff, mainly the former SAUTT staff, are not involved in any operations. They go to work and do nothing. They come to work, get a salary and do nothing. It is the same thing with NSOC. It's not that they don't have any work to do, but the plan was to frustrate people out of the job. Nobody left so this is the next step they are taking.''
Contacted yesterday, Seepaul told the Express that all she did was forward information from the Ministry to the employees.
She suggested that all queries be directed to NSOC director Steve Sookram. Calls to Sookram's phones went unanswered yesterday and a voice message was left. Attempts were also made to reach Minister of National Security Jack Warner but his phone was switched off.