The Housing Development Corporation (HDC) fired six procurement and contract assistants in order to “outsource” their jobs to a single yet unnamed consultant.
Among those dismissed is Carrie-Ann Moreau, the woman at the centre of the sexual misconduct allegations made against former sport minister Darryl Smith.
The other officers are Camille Le Gendre, Allan Gour, Lisa Sharma, Abiola Clarence and Afta Jemmot-Bharath, according to documents obtained by Guardian Media.
According to the dismissal letters, the six were hired just six months ago on contract to “assist with establishing the proper processes and procedures in compliance with statutory regulations”.
They were expected to assist with policy review and roll out, pre-qualification and inventory count.
The dismissal letters dated March 26, signed by Bryan Jackson, the HDC’s divisional manager of human resources and approved by the company’s managing director Brent Lyons one day later.
“In reviewing this decision the Corporation has made the determination that there would be greater benefit in procuring the services of a procurement consultant to conduct this exercise,” Jackson said in the letter.
Jackson listed “expert knowledge, which is at a much higher level than the current temporary staff, greater objectivity, ready access to additional external expertise and resources” among the reasons listed for retaining an external consultant.
More about Smith’s incident
In March 2018 it was reported that Moreau signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and was paid some $150,000 after she alleged that Smith, sexually harassed her. At the time, Moreau served as Smith’s assistant.
In April, Rowley removed Smith as the Minister of Sport and re-appointed him as Minister in the Ministry of Housing. A day later, Smith was removed from the Ministry. Rowley at the time said that “new information” came to light after meeting with Minister of Planning and Development, Camille Robinson-Regis and Smith.
Rowley then established a committee to review the issue of Smith’s payment to Moreau.
Just days later it was revealed that Moreau was working at the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) before Smith was re-assigned to the ministry with oversight of that company.
The UDeCOTT chairman, Noel Garcia said then that he did not know Moreau worked at the company.
On Monday, when asked about making the investigation into the issue public, Rowley said there were legal challenges. He said then that the report on the Sports Ministry’s $150,000 settlement to a former employee is the subject of legal “challenges.” He said that advice of the Attorney General and the public service, the matter was being reviewed and would be presented. Rowley could not give a deadline for release.
- by Renuka Singh