Penny threatened with lawsuit over Campbell’s dismissal

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

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