Port General Manager fired

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 10:45

The board of directors at the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (PATT) have fired the port's General Manager and Acting CEO of the Port-of-Spain INfrastructure Company, Charmaine Lewis.

A letter of dismissal dated October 9th, 2018 and signed by the PATT chairman, Alison Lewis has been sent to Charmaine Lewis.

The letter cited Lewis' refusal to follow the board's directive to proceed on accumulated leave which was said to be over and above the permitted maximum accumulated amount of 114 days.

The letter added: "In addition, the Board has today received information from PriceWaterhouseCoopers, pursuant to the ongoing forensic searches of the Authority's email server, and your personal computer to the effect that all your emails sent/received during the period January to July 2017 have been deleted. As you are well aware, this is a material period with respect to on-going reviews/investigations of the operations of the Authority and your role as General Manager/CEO is critical."

The letter went on,"You are hereby advised that having regard to:

1. your said refusal to proceed on vacation leave as properly directed by the Board;

2. the various issues/incidents the Board has had with you over the last 6 months and all other relevant factors (including those discussed with you this morning); and

3. the recent information from PriceWaterhouseCooper's forensic searches;

the board has lost all trust and confidence in you and your ability to perform the duties of General Manager of the Authority/CEO POSINCO (Ag), and as a consequence has decided to terminate your employment with immediate effect."

Last month Lewis testified before the Joint Select Committee of Parliament into the seabridge but he testimony was described by the Minister of Works and Transport, Rohan Sinanan as "a blatant lie".

In giving evidence, Lewis had raised concerns over Sinanan’s instruction to now suspended T&T Inter-Island Transportation Company Ltd CEO Leon Grant to inspect the “barge”—the Trinity Transporter—even before the port’s evaluation process for a cargo vessel began.

Lewis told the JSC Sinanan had told Grant he thought the barge would be “suitable” and the owner wanted US$12,000 a day but that he (Grant) should beat them down to US$8,000.

“That conversation took place before the evaluation and the formal submission of the barge to the Port,” Lewis told the JSC.

In defending his name, however, Sinanan said he felt compelled to “debunk the nonsense Lewis spoke” about.

“Charmaine Lewis just made a fool of herself by going there, in my opinion, and to say a whole set of things that were not true,” Sinanan said.

He said his instruction to Grant was “to look at everything that was available in our waters, which included the Coast Guard vessels, because there was no board in place at the time since it was an emergency. I never said to go and look at the barge.”