Whistleblowers allege corruption in regional corporation, blogger wants info

Vishal Persad -
Vishal Persad -

A BLOGGER and social activist who recently asked for information on recent hiring practices at the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation now wants information from another regional body.

In a freedom of information request, attorney Keron Ramkhalwhan of JurisX Chambers, who represents blogger Vishal Persad, said two whistleblowers contacted his client on July 4, alleging they were approached by individuals purporting to be employees of the Couva Tabaquite Talparo Regional Corporation (CTTRC) for payment in exchange for jobs.

Ramkhalwhan gave details of the complaints from the whistleblowers.

These complaints, he said, were sent to the corporation in September 2023.

When contacted for comment, the corporation’s chairman, Ryan Rampersad, said he would present the FOIA request to the corporation’s corporate secretary and would respond to Newsday.

He could not commit to when that might be as there were staff changes in the corporation.

“I'll get back to you on this.”

Ramkhalwhan said despite making the complaints, the two whistleblowers alleged no action has been taken by the corporation.

He said the whistleblowers “strongly believe” their complaints are being ignored and that their “growing frustration” emphasised the need for external intervention.

Ramkhalwhan also said the Auditor General’s report on the public accounts for 2023 pointed out that the CTTRC was one of those municipal corporations delinquent in submitting financial statements for audit.

Ramkhalwhan said for this reason, his client wants disclosure of the policy, practices and procedures used for employment on fixed-term contracts at the CTTRC; the number of people employed on such contracts from 2015-2024; those not subjected to a competitive recruitment process; all internal or external advertisements for each position filled and the number of vacant contact positions at the CTTRC.

The request also asked for the Cabinet-approved policy or circular memorandum or any other documents which authorised a municipal body to recommend or approve automatic fixed-term contracts without a competitive recruitment process.

“It is absolutely essential for the corporation to disclose the requested information in order to expose corruption. This information is crucial as it will provide transparency regarding the allegations raised by the whistleblowers and offer insight into the corporation’s expenditure over the past decade.

“The whistleblowers have disclosed that they themselves paid these exorbitant sums out of sheer desperation due to their financial circumstances and the pressing need to provide for their families.

“By revealing these details, the corporation can demonstrate accountability and ensure that any potentially unethical practices are brought to light and addressed appropriately.”

Ramkhalwhan also said because of the nature of the allegations and the documents received from the whistleblowers, the information has been forwarded to the police.

The CTTRC was asked to give a decision on the requests by August 5.


"Whistleblowers allege corruption in regional corporation, blogger wants info"

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