Contractors, workers to go soon, and… Musical chairs for CEPEP GM

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Peter Jackson has become arguably the shortest-serving general manager ever in the State sector.

Jackson was recently announced to staff as general manager of Cepep Company Ltd.

Within days, former Point Fortin Mayor Francis Bertrand was named to the same position.

Jackson was quietly relieved of the post without a public explanation.

He was said to have been embarrassed at the shock development.

The musical chairs extend to the position of finance manager.

Along with the announcement of Jackson, employees were told of the appointment of Nadia Khan-Bhekoo as finance manager.

But when Bertrand was named as general manager, workers learnt that the finance manager would be Rixon Boodoo.

Again, there was no explanation.

The Jackson-Bertrand appointments came after substantive general manager Carl Jagdeo was sent on “administrative leave.”

So, too, was finance manager Brian Mulchan.

Jagdeo and Mulchan would not present themselves on CEPEP’s compound, “except by company request,” workers were told in an internal memo.

Certain other managers, in information technology, marketing and communications, were removed from their posts and replacements named.

The jobs were not publicly advertised before being filled.

Two senior officials of HydroTech Ltd., one a human resource personnel and the other an attorney, are involved in an audit at CEPEP.

Someone familiar to the independent bench of the Senate has been providing consultancy services.

CEPEP Trevor Lynch recently announced plans to restructure the company.

TTWhistleblower understands that 39 offices are to be set up, based on geographical areas of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC).

Officials would be assigned to each office.

The relevant posts include regional coordinator, operations coordinator, office manager and community relations officer.

Lynch and his team are examining three proposed new company logos, out of which one would be selected.

Sub-committees handling the restructuring include the external advisors and consultants.

But in all of the changes, there would soon be major slashes in operating costs, including the removal of some contractors.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley last Friday night gave another hint of the impending developments at the environmental company.

But Finance Minister Colm Imbert, in his April 8 mid-year fiscal review, had pointedly indicated that dramatic cuts were being planned.

Imbert said that CEPEP would be returned to its “original moorings.”

He said expenditure at the company had grown from just over $400 million in 2004-5 to $1.3 billion in 2015.

He stressed that “financial support for contractors in CEPEP will be reduced over time…”

The government plans “to encourage CEPEP contractors to become entrepreneurs,” Imbert said.

That means that contractors – especially long-standing ones – would be axed from the system.

Along with the contractors, there would be job losses for an undisclosed number of daily-paid workers.
Sources say the restructured operations are likely to kick in at the start of the new financial year, in October, at which time a new and reduced cadre of contractors and workers would be introduced.

In the meantime, CEPEP employees are reportedly uneasy about the new high-level officials at the head offices, at Ste. Madeleine, and are fearing for their jobs.

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