The CEO of the Tourism Trinidad Ltd has been fired after just six months on the job.
And there now appears to be confusion at the State-company surrounding the dismissal of Camille Campbell, a former TSTT marketing representative.
Confidential letters obtained by Guardian Media point to a conflict between the company’s chairman Janelle Penny Commissiong and Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell and some board members, who claimed they were blind-sided by Commissiong on the firing of the CEO.
This development comes even as the Caribbean Tourism Organisation recorded a fall in tourist arrivals to this country and stakeholders reporting economic distress.
Tourism Trinidad Ltd was one of two companies formed after the closure of the Tourism Development Company in 2017. A separate company, the Tobago Tourism Agency, was formed to manage the affairs on that island.
However, on Monday Commissiong, fired Campbell citing poor performance and a failure to protect the organisation from risk, acting in a manner which called into question her credibility and intentionally misrepresenting the board’s views to employees.
In a letter dated July 1, the former Miss Universe wrote to Campbell, saying, “The Board views the above-mentioned incidents as indicators of your unsuitability to perform the role of CEO and have therefore taken the decision to terminate your contract of employment with the Tourism Trinidad Limited.”
But the decision to fire Campbell was not unanimous, with some board members objecting in writing to the ministry saying they were not in support of the decision.
Guardian Media has received copies of several correspondences between Commissiong and Mitchell, Campbell’s dismissal letter and letters shared among board members, Commissiong and the minister on the issue.
In one letter, Commissiong reports to Mitchell on the firing of the CEO, in which she said the board received industrial relation and legal advice on its position.
“The Board sought ongoing professional advice from IR consultant and lawyer Lennox Marcelle,” she wrote.
Guardian Media has also received a copy of the board’s agenda of June 28, when the decision was made to fire Campbell and her assessment was not on the agenda.
Sources tell Guardian Media that the Government has for some time been considering changes to the board but there has been fear that it could lead to the public taking the side of certain board members.
Several calls to Commissiong’s mobile phone went unanswered as well as WhatsApp messages.
Commissiong also told Mitchell that she was ignoring her instruction not to fire members of staff.
She wrote to Mitchell on Tuesday stating, “The BOD also took cognizance of your instruction in a letter dated June 6, 2019, in which you ordered that no disciplinary action be taken against any member of staff. You will have received my response in which I declined to conform with that instruction because it was neither in accordance with the SPMM (State Enterprise Performance Monitoring Manual) —which both the BOD and the Minister are required to strictly observe — and not good industrial relations practice.”
This is not the first time the two squared off.
In a series of letters in late January and February, the two disagreed over Commissiong proposing a $1.8 million re-launch of Trinidad Tourism Ltd.
The Minister also chastised Commissiong’s board for failing to promote the country 13 months after it was appointed on the excuse that the management had only late last year been put in place.
Reporter: Curtis Williams