Newly appointed CEO of the Tobago Tourism Agency, St Lucian Louis Lewis, has denied allegations of misappropriation of funds during his tenure at the St Lucia Tourist Board.
Responding to allegations that Lewis and his deputy at the St Lucia Tourist Board, Tracy Arnold, were fired because of mismanagement of funds, Lewis told Newsday Tobago on Friday:
“While those allegations were made, there is nothing that has ever been substantiated. Indeed, there was a probe into the allegations at the organisation, which is typical of transitions within administrations and I reaffirm that those allegations were never substantiated.
“The fact of the matter is that I did tender my resignation ahead of the transitory period (when the tourist board was renamed "tourism agency"). That is the reality of the situation and I hold very firmly to my integrity and that is something that has guided me for my entire career.
“The truth of the matter is that there has never been any mis-allocation, mismanagement or anything of that sort as far as I am concerned and that is the reality of the situation.”
Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Tourism Secretary Nadine Stewart Phillips, asked to comment on the allegations, said: “The necessary background checks were done, and the candidate was cleared.”
Stewart Phillips, along with TTA chairman Dr Sherma Roberts, announced Lewis to the Tobago media last Wednesday at the post-Executive Council media briefing at the Administrative Complex, Calder Hall.
Lewis was shortlisted for the job by Profiles Caribbean Inc, a recruitment firm in Barbados hired by the THA to advertise and shortlist applicants for the position of CEO of the TTA.
Senior talent acquisition officer at Profiles Caribbean Inc Rohan Malone told Newsday Tobago in a telephone interview that there were no issues with Lewis when asked about the allegations. He also said Profiles Caribbean Inc were recruiters and not investigators, adding, however, that he could divulge the internal procedures used by company to select Lewis for the TTA job.
On his first public assignment as TTA CEO, Lewis joined a Tobago delegation headed by Stewart Phillip, which left on Friday to attend the 2017 World Travel Market in London, UK.