CEPEP commences probe against Cro Cro

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to the con­duct of CEPEP re­gion­al co­or­di­na­tor We­st­on “Cro Cro” Rawl­ins is ex­pect­ed to be com­plet­ed this week and a de­ci­sion by man­age­ment will be for­ward­ed to the board of di­rec­tors for de­lib­er­a­tion.

In a me­dia con­fer­ence at CEPEP’s head of­fice in Ste Madeleine on Tues­day, chair­man Ash­ton Ford said that Rawl­ins re­mains on sus­pen­sion but con­tin­ues to col­lect his $10,000 month­ly salary.

Rawl­ins, the hold­er of sev­er­al Na­tion­al Ca­lyp­so Monarch ti­tles, found him­self in trou­ble last month when a video cir­cu­lat­ed on so­cial me­dia which showed him dri­ving the com­pa­ny’s pick­up while curs­ing a pas­sen­ger of an­oth­er ve­hi­cle. Dur­ing the quar­rel, the pas­sen­ger could be heard telling Rawl­ins to stop dri­ving while he is on the phone.

Rawl­ins has since de­fend­ed his ac­tions, say­ing that he was re­spond­ing to racial re­marks. The pas­sen­ger, in a me­dia re­port, said that he did not know it was Rawl­ins and did not want him to lose his job. On Tues­day, Ford said that Rawl­ins has al­ready giv­en his state­ment to an in­ves­ti­ga­tor, a for­mer po­lice of­fi­cer now em­ployed with CEPEP.

So far, the pas­sen­ger in the video has not made a re­port and Ford said the in­ves­ti­ga­tor will seek to get his side of the sto­ry as it is cru­cial to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Al­though he could not speak fur­ther on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion as it was on­go­ing, Ford re­spond­ed to Princes Town MP Bar­ry Padarath who ques­tioned how Rawl­ins was em­ployed by CEPEP.

Padarath said that he would write to the Equal Op­por­tu­ni­ties Com­mis­sion and use the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act to de­ter­mine this. He added that Rawl­ins owed the coun­try an apol­o­gy for his be­hav­iour and should have been fired.

Ford ex­plained that a va­can­cy for re­gion­al co­or­di­na­tors was ad­ver­tised in the news­pa­pers and on the com­pa­ny’s web­site in 2018.

On Ju­ly 9, Rawl­ins ap­plied for the job, he was short-list­ed and was ranked third in the in­ter­view.

A rec­om­men­da­tion to the board of di­rec­tors was made by the com­pa­ny’s Hu­man Re­source Com­mit­tee and Rawl­ins was among those hired. Ford said that as a law­mak­er, Padarath should be aware or seek guid­ance from his po­lit­i­cal col­leagues on the in­dus­tri­al re­la­tions laws that CEPEP is guid­ed by when work­ers have to be dis­ci­plined.

He said Rawl­ins was a cit­i­zen, who was en­ti­tled like every­one else to be hired and like all em­ploy­ees, be sub­ject­ed to the com­pa­ny’s dis­ci­pli­nary pro­ce­dures.

Nonethe­less, he read from a Staff Per­for­mance As­sess­ment (SPA) on Rawl­ins which showed that he was an ex­cel­lent work­er. In five of six cat­e­gories, Rawl­ins scored 2's, which meant ex­cel­lent and in one cat­e­go­ry, he got a 1, which stood for out­stand­ing. How­ev­er, up­on clos­er in­spec­tion, the name on the SPA that Ford held in his hand was done for act­ing op­er­a­tions su­per­vi­sor Matthew Kailah.30.

“We took care of the process and we took care of the facts so that those who want to ped­dle mis­in­for­ma­tion may con­tin­ue to do so but we have the facts here. Un­like what some ra­dio talk show hosts said this morn­ing, that we have a sto­ry to tell. We don’t have a sto­ry to tell, we have the facts to present to the peo­ple of this coun­try,” Ford said.

Rawl­ins has sung many pro-PNM ca­lyp­soes over the years, but Ford said it played no part in his re­cruit­ment, not­ing the ca­lyp­son­ian al­so sang against the par­ty last year.

While list­ing the terms and con­di­tions of Rawl­ins' em­ploy­ment, he said fel­low ca­lyp­son­ian Ed­win “Crazy” Ay­oung, whom he said sang against the PNM, was em­ployed as a con­sul­tant for CEPEP dur­ing the UNC tenure for a month­ly salary of $8,500 with favourable con­di­tions and no in­di­ca­tion of what were his roles and func­tions.

Reporter: Kevon Felmine

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