Sunday, February 25, 2018

PS transferred to PMÕs office

Two weeks after trip to Argentina...

Permanent secretary Julia­na Johan-Boodram has been transferred to the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) with immediate effe­ct.

Sources say Johan-Boodram received a letter from her boss, head of the Public Service Reynold Cooper, on Friday, directing her to report to the OPM tomorrow morning.

Sources added Johan-Boodram is unaware of what her responsibilities are following the transfer, and will be briefed when she assumes duties.

Johan-Boodram was attached to the Ministry of Tourism. Sources say since her transfer, Joan Mendez will now be the PS of this ministry.

Mendez was the deputy PS in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and from 2012 to present was PS in the OPM with responsibility for the Ministry of Communications.

Contacted by the Express yesterday afternoon, Johan-Boodram confirmed her transfer to the OPM. “Yes, that is so. I was informed by Mr Cooper and via a letter on Friday.”

Asked what the reasons for her transfer were, Johan-Boodram said: “I would like for you to direct all questions to Mr Cooper. All I know is that I’ve been transferred to the OPM.”

Efforts to contact Cooper yesterday afternoon were unsuccessful.

The transfer of Johan-Boodram comes on the heels of a report she submitted to Cooper following a trip made two weeks ago to Argentina.

Cooper had written to Johan-Boodram, seeking an explanation on her absence from the country and the job without his knowledge and approval.

A story published in the Sunday Guardian last weekend questioned Johan-Boodram’s absence from her ministry, and questions of possible disciplinary actions were raised. But Johan-Boodram, speaking at the launch of the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Company’s (TDC) Meeting Planners’ Guide at MovieTowne, Port of Spain, last week, told the media the trip was an official one.

At the event, Johan-Boodram said a team went to Argentina for a football friendly against T&T, where the country’s culture was on display. “I want to let you know I was not absent without leave. I was on official duties working, and anyone who went with us can tell you. And, furthermore, I want to let you know all the proper measures were in place. All proper protocols that were supposed to be followed for my absence from this country were followed.

“The Director of Personnel Administration (DPA) was informed, the Comptroller of Accounts was informed, so there was an acting PS and an accounting officer, just to let you know,” she had said.

Johan-Boodram said she met with Cooper on her return to Trinidad and deliver­ed a report to him on the issue.

The article also made reference to the Ministry of Sport’s PS, Ashwin Creed.

Creed, through his attorney, Peter Taylor, denied the article contents that his client left the jurisdiction without authorisation.

At a media briefing on June 10, Taylor said Creed informed his line minister, Anil Roberts, about the leave. Taylor had said Creed was given extended leave until June 30, and this can be verified by Cooper.