Six HDC procurement officers sent home

The Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (HDC) fired six pro­cure­ment and con­tract as­sis­tants in or­der to “out­source” their jobs to a sin­gle yet un­named con­sul­tant.

Among those dis­missed is Car­rie-Ann More­au, the woman at the cen­tre of the sex­u­al mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions made against for­mer sport min­is­ter Dar­ryl Smith.

The oth­er of­fi­cers are Camille Le Gen­dre, Al­lan Gour, Lisa Shar­ma, Abi­o­la Clarence and Af­ta Jem­mot-Bharath, ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments ob­tained by Guardian Me­dia.

Ac­cord­ing to the dis­missal let­ters, the six were hired just six months ago on con­tract to “as­sist with es­tab­lish­ing the prop­er process­es and pro­ce­dures in com­pli­ance with statu­to­ry reg­u­la­tions”.

They were ex­pect­ed to as­sist with pol­i­cy re­view and roll out, pre-qual­i­fi­ca­tion and in­ven­to­ry count.

The dis­missal let­ters dat­ed March 26, signed by Bryan Jack­son, the HDC’s di­vi­sion­al man­ag­er of hu­man re­sources and ap­proved by the com­pa­ny’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Brent Lyons one day lat­er.

“In re­view­ing this de­ci­sion the Cor­po­ra­tion has made the de­ter­mi­na­tion that there would be greater ben­e­fit in procur­ing the ser­vices of a pro­cure­ment con­sul­tant to con­duct this ex­er­cise,” Jack­son said in the let­ter.

Jack­son list­ed “ex­pert knowl­edge, which is at a much high­er lev­el than the cur­rent tem­po­rary staff, greater ob­jec­tiv­i­ty, ready ac­cess to ad­di­tion­al ex­ter­nal ex­per­tise and re­sources” among the rea­sons list­ed for re­tain­ing an ex­ter­nal con­sul­tant.

More about Smith’s in­ci­dent

In March 2018 it was re­port­ed that More­au signed a Non-Dis­clo­sure Agree­ment (NDA) and was paid some $150,000 af­ter she al­leged that Smith, sex­u­al­ly ha­rassed her. At the time, More­au served as Smith’s as­sis­tant.

In April, Row­ley re­moved Smith as the Min­is­ter of Sport and re-ap­point­ed him as Min­is­ter in the Min­istry of Hous­ing. A day lat­er, Smith was re­moved from the Min­istry. Row­ley at the time said that “new in­for­ma­tion” came to light af­ter meet­ing with Min­is­ter of Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment, Camille Robin­son-Reg­is and Smith.

Row­ley then es­tab­lished a com­mit­tee to re­view the is­sue of Smith’s pay­ment to More­au.

Just days lat­er it was re­vealed that More­au was work­ing at the Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion of Trinidad and To­ba­go (UDe­COTT) be­fore Smith was re-as­signed to the min­istry with over­sight of that com­pa­ny.

The UDe­COTT chair­man, Noel Gar­cia said then that he did not know More­au worked at the com­pa­ny.

On Mon­day, when asked about mak­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to the is­sue pub­lic, Row­ley said there were le­gal chal­lenges. He said then that the re­port on the Sports Min­istry’s $150,000 set­tle­ment to a for­mer em­ploy­ee is the sub­ject of le­gal “chal­lenges.” He said that ad­vice of the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al and the pub­lic ser­vice, the mat­ter was be­ing re­viewed and would be pre­sent­ed. Row­ley could not give a dead­line for re­lease.

- by Renuka Singh

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