The Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) has revoked the transfer of a senior supervisor to Tobago after workers there vehemently objected to his arrival. The Tobago T&TEC employees claim the supervisor has a close link to another supervisor who allegedly left a work WhatsApp chat after making racist remarks.
Despite acquiescing to the demands of Tobago employees, the commission said "no senior supervisor who has been accused of using discriminatory language" was going to be transferred to Tobago.
It noted that "another senior supervisor is currently on suspension and will be provided with counselling and training regarding unresolved biases that may affect their ability to effectively serve at the commission. This training will be conducted in keeping with T&TEC’s code of ethics which prohibits discrimination on, among other things, the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, political affiliation, sex or marital status."
The commission said it recognises the need to implement a diversity policy to prevent similar incidents.
T&TEC general manager Kelvin Ramsook said the company is an equal opportunity organisation and will investigate any substantiated reports of discrimination by its employees.
T&TEC said it was normal part of its operations to transfer staff among operating centres to fill existing needs. It said Tobago requires a senior supervisor and the vacancy must be filled to ensure the island has its full complement of staff to manage technical work.
However, Tobago's OWTU shop steward Bainet Hamlet described the latest development as a victory for employees.
He said, "We are very happy to note the management come to this decision and revoke the appointment of this guy in Tobago. Tobago is not a place like that. We are a very peaceful people and operate with love and happiness. To send somebody with race (issues), we don't promote that at all. And it is something we prepare to go to the end to. You are now sending a guy to Tobago among prominent black people. We are not gonna tolerate that."
Hamlet said the union acknowledged the supervisor that was supposed to be transferred did not make the racist remark but said he was concerned how he behaved after his colleague's post in the chat.
"The guy who was coming, he wasn't the guy that made the remarks but he had removed himself from the chat. Why you remove yourself from the chat? Is it because you didn't like what the guy said? Is it because you were not happy what the guy said? Is it that you disagree with what the guy said? But thank God it was exposed."