Tuesday, January 23, 2018

US alliance urges PM to recall NY Consul

The 16 constituent member organisations of the Trinidad and Tobago Alliance (North America) are calling on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to take immediate steps to recall Consul General Rudrawatee Nan Ramgoolam.

The resolution, which was signed by the organisations, also called on the Prime Minister to "proceed with the necessary action" to have the eight former employees of the Consul General office in New York, USA, who were summarily dismissed from their jobs earlier this year, reinstated.

The resolution stated that former minister Ramgoolam had implemented and/or overseen measures, policies and practices that had negatively impacted the smooth operations of the consulate.

It added that Ramgoolam's actions included the summary dismissal of eight dedicated, in some instances long-serving, employees "on specious grounds of having failed an arbitrarily devised written examination, whose objectivity was very much open to question".

It said in the "defiant retreat by the consulate from modern workplace practice, consulate staff members, many of them having been employed for a number of years, found themselves capriciously reduced to temporary worker status with no benefits whatsoever".

The resolution said the intimidation of the staff had become routine practice for the Consul General, "including intemperate behaviour and demeaning put-downs of staff in the presence of members of the public".

The resolution noted that Ramgoolam was also seen to be compromising herself in the reported hiring of a relative as her chauffeur, "facilitating payment to this individual of bloated, unpreceden ted overtime remuneration, the necessity for which...seems dubious".

In a press release which accompanied the resolution, Raymond Luke, chairman of Sesame Flyers, a constituent member of the alliance, said he could not imagine being given a test that covered all departmental operations and then being told that "you failed and have ten minutes to leave the building".

The eight workers, some with service as much as 23 years, were dismissed after they were given a "surprise" written test, the release said.

It added they had written individual letters to T&T Ambassador in Washington, USA, Neil Parsan, in which they detailed the "improper conditions" that existed under Ramgoolam's administration.

They have also written to the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union (OWTU) to investigate the matter.