UNC Councillor Anil Juteram, Chairman, Sangre Grande Regional Corporation

Sangre Grande Regional Corporation Chairman, Anil Juteram said he is willing to be removed as chairman as the fiasco over the dismissal of 16 employees at the corporation continues.

The decision was made during a special statutory meeting held on March 31, where six United National Congress (UNC) councillors voted for the dismissal of the workers. Five People’s National Movement (PNM) councillors voted against the move.

The employees were handed their dismissal letters yesterday after a decision was taken not to renew their contracts and Juteram said he was upset to see them go.

“I am not going to be the fall guy for this and those accountable for doing this and instructing those council members to make that decision. I hope that when that matter reaches the Industrial Court and the Corporation starts to get lawsuits and a legal letter left, right and centre, I hope those persons are going to help pay the bills for the corporation,” Juteram said.

Speaking with Guardian Media via telephone, Juteram said the employees “were wrongfully dismissed”.

He added he will speak with the UNC political leader about what transpired and called the dismissals “a step backwards”.

He said, “By listening to people in charge who knows nothing about campaigning and they are directing this UNC council to lose all credibility and the reputation of the people in the region by firing these people and putting them on the breadline. I will be not part of something like that and nobody is going to gangster me or bully me, I am a person for the people of Sangre Grande and when I say people all people and I stand by that.

“If they want to terminate my appointment if they discipline me so be it but I want to be disciplined for the correct thing. We cannot send people on the breadline and they would have no food to eat and also little children to see about, they have rent, they have mortgages and bills to pay,” Juteram said.

PNM councillors at the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation also voiced their anger about the terminations.

Speaking at the council chambers, in a video recording sent to Guardian Media they said the 16 contractual workers were employed in the corporation for 4 to 8 years.

PNM Alderman Danielle Marshall-Piper claimed the UNC councillors did not understand their roles and functions.

She said, “The Chairman of council Mr Anil Juteram would have abstained his vote making it six UNC for rescinding the employment of those persons. We in the PNM would have voted to maintain the employment of these workers and the chairman of the corporation would have abstained.”

Former Chairman Terry Rondon said he was disappointed by the decision taken by the councillors and he believed Juteram could have done more by not abstaining.