Lawyers for former chief executive officer of Tourism Trinidad Limited Camille Campbell have issued a pre- action protocol letter to chairman of the company, Janelle Penny Commissiong, demanding that she reinstate Campbell and that Commissiong issue an apology to the former CEO.
In the pre action protocol letter, attorney Keith Scotland wrote to Commissiong: “In the circumstances, we are instructed to demand the said letter of dismissal/termination dated July 01, 2019 be withdrawn forthwith and our Client reinstated in her post as Chief Executive Officer. Further, that all comments geared towards and having the effect of impugning our Client’s personal and professional integrity be withdrawn immediately and a comprehensive written apology issued.”
Scotland argued that TTL’s continued failure and/or refusal and/or neglect to uphold the terms of the employment contract are groundless and/or unsupported in law and as previously stated amounts to a breach of Campbell’s employment contract.
Campbell was fired on July 1, six months after being made CEO if Tourism Trinidad. Tourism Trinidad was formed to replace to defunct TDC that was closed by the Rowley administration and in its place, Tourism Trinidad and Tourism Tobago formed.
Scotland told Commissiong that Campbell’s termination was wrongful, unfair, unreasonable, indefensible and in breach of contract.
He said the decision to fire Campbell, based on a lack or performance after an extended probationary period, was wrong because at no time prior to the assessment did the Board or any members ever meet with Campbell to engage in a discussion relative to objectives for the Company as a whole, and more particularly relative her performance during the period.
“You, Ms Commissiong-Chow, failed and/or refused to provide our Client with any Key Performance Indicators or any other objective measure relative to the performance of the new organization and our Client in her role as CEO, therefore, there was not only no objective criteria against which our Client was being purportedly assessed but there was, in fact, no criteria whatsoever to form the basis of the assessment; and in the circumstances, the assessment took the form of a hodge-podge of matters, directed not by KPIs, but rather but whatever the Directors present chose to take issue with.” Scotland alleges in the Pre action protocol letter.
He said the said appraisals were conducted in a manner that was ‘unfair, lacking in substance and objectivity and geared solely to the detriment of our Client’.
According to Scotland extraneous and irrelevant matters were taken into consideration and given significant focus including, but not limited to, whether our Campbell communicated with the Minister of Tourism, Randall Mitchell.
Scotland wrote that there was a constant undermining of the CEO in the presence of subordinates, including but not limited, to the comment at the Board Meeting in the presence of Manager, Legal and Corporate Secretary (the CEO’s subordinate) that the said Manager ought to be CEO rather than Campbell.
He accused Commissiong of derogatory references to the Minister of Tourism, TTL’s line ministry.
According to Scotland, the conduct of Commissiong, and that of certain other members of the Board of Directors have been of a capricious and malicious manner directed not only towards Campbell but also towards other managers of TTL.
The pre- action protocol letter also said: “Based on the matters set out herein we are of the opinion that your conduct may amount to a misuse and/or abuse of the powers vested in you, as Directors, under the Companies Act and your conduct is in contradiction to the policies set down in the State Enterprise Performance Monitoring Manual which expressly states that that “the Board must not usurp the responsibilities of executive management by involving itself in day to day management issues. It is an organ of review, appraisal and appeal.”
Reporter: Curtis Williams