DURING the fifth virtual meeting of the Joint Select Committee on State Enterprises on Monday, chairman Anthony Vieira expressed concern about the inability of members of the Community-Based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (Cepep) to directly answer questions on salary and job title changes in the company.
Last September, a newspaper reported that two senior Cepep employees had their job titles changed and they both received hefty increases in salary. Cepep threatened legal action against that newspaper for defamation of character, malicious falsehood, and breach of confidentiality.
However, when asked a number of questions by committee members during a virtual sitting, Cepep members asked if they could send their answers later, in writing. Cepep chairman Marilyn Michael described that newspaper’s article as “mischief” and an attempt to “scandalise the company’s reputation.”
She said the salary increase has not been implemented and the board requested authorisation by the human resources advisory committee of the Cabinet. The board, she said, was adhering to requirements given by the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government and the Ministry of Finance.
When Opposition Senator Wade Mark asked for information on the current salary of the new CEO as well as the corporate secretary and head of legal, corporate secretary Nicole Gopaulsingh said she did not have the information and asked if she could provide it at a different date.
JSC chairman and Independent Senator Anthony Vieira Cepep General Manager Keith Eddy if the job and salary changes at the company were at the proposal stage or if they were implemented and waiting for approval retroactively. Eddy said he would have to provide the information in writing.
Vieira said documents Cepep submitted to the JSC suggests the changes were already in effect. At the end of the JSC, Vieira and committee member Laurel Lee Sing-Lezama both expressed concern that the Cepep officials before them were only deferring answers to a later time.
“Cepep is today reporting to the Parliament on your administration on the exercising of your powers and how you function. This is a very serious undertaking and I’m a little concerned about the glaring discrepancy between what you have submitted to us in writing and what you have said today orally, and I am hoping that in your clarifications you could shed light and give some explanations as to why that discrepancy occurred,” Vieira said.