Sixty-eight employees of the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) will be sent home in the coming weeks as the authority seeks to reduce its expenditure and tackle its $88 million debt.
In a release yesterday, the authority said the salaries of its current staff of 200 accounts for 72 per cent of its income—twice what it was in 2010.
In 2010, annual personnel expenditure amounted to $8.5 million and annual income amounted to $26.7 million. Personnel expenditure therefore amounted to a mere 32 per cent of income.
Further, in 2010, CDA’s debt was $6.7 million and there was $16.9 million in savings.
By 2016, the debt was $118 million and the organisation had only $68,000 in savings.
In 2017, annual personnel expenditure had risen to $26.7 million and annual income amounted to $34.7 million. Personnel expenditure was therefore as high as 77 per cent of the income earned for the year,” the authority wrote.
Guardian Media sent several questions to CDA chairman Gupte Lutchmedial yesterday and although he responded with another press release, he did not answer the questions posed. Lutchmedial did not respond at all when asked how much of the current wage bill is paid out to members of the board.
The CDA said it was unable to cover its maintenance and utility expenses despite having collected rental arrears for the majority of its errant tenants and increasing its income by engaging in new businesses.
Talks have already started with the respective unions about the plans for “staff rationalisation”, the release said.
The release also outlines the CDA’s debts, stating since 2016, the authority has been paying recurrent expenses in cash.
“Further, creditors are now owed approximately $88 Million and there are numerous litigation claims for recovery of debt dating back to 2013.
The CDA had recorded a debt of $118 million as at 2015,” the release stated.
Reporter: Sharlene Rampersad