A qualified apology by Minister of State in the Ministry of the People, Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, over comments she made about People’s National Movement (PNM) leader Dr Keith Rowley has failed to q
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Wendy faces e-Teck axe
Almost 13 years after Miss T&T Universe 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam made this country proud, the beauty queen is set to be sacked from her government job. Fitzwilliam, 38, is the vice president (VP) of Investment Promotions Division at Evolving TecKnologies and Enterprise Development Company Ltd (e-Teck). The company formed part of former prime minister, Patrick Manning’s brain child Vision 20/20 plan. It was aimed at becoming a significant partner in the sustainable development of T&T by diversifying the country’s non energy sector and export base.
The mother of one is among the executive members that are expected to be replaced within the upcoming weeks. Sunday Guardian learnt the recruitment process forms part of the restructuring exercise the state enterprise is said to be undergoing to chart the way forward. The Diego Martin beauty queen has been employed at the company since her return to Trinidad in 2003, after winning the prestigious title. Her contract expires in December 2012. It was a proud day in history on June 1, 1998, when Fitzwilliam won the title. Her win came 21 years after Janelle Penny Commissiong captured the prestigious title for T&T. Up until Thursday, the company’s Web site listed the management team comprising four members.
• Chief Implementation officer, Tamana Operations-Bernard Mitchell.
• VP Investment Promotion Division–Wendy Fitzwilliam.
• VP Property management-Nisha Kochar.
• General manager, ICT Project Implementation–Henry Kumar.
However, while the recruitment drive is said to be part of a restructuring exercise, questions have surfaced as to why the positions of only three executive members were advertised in a daily newspaper two months ago. Interested applicants were asked to submit applications for the following positions now under new job titles—VP Corporate Support Services, VP Investor Sourcing Facilitation and VP Development Planning and Management. Suitable applicants were also asked to submit the relevant qualification to fill the post of president at the company. The executive position, however, formerly filled by Kochar was not among the vacancies advertised. And, sources revealed to Sunday Guardian, the executive tendered her resignation last Friday. Checks on the company’s Web site yesterday revealed that Kochar’s portfolio was also removed.
When contacted last week, a free spirited Fitzwilliam confirmed that the position she currently holds at e-Teck was advertised. Asked if she was given an opportunity to re-apply, the beauty replied: “No.” “We were told it is a restructuring exercise. I am just observing and looking on. I am waiting to see what is going to transpire. I am continuing to work as normal until otherwise.” The beauty, who also holds a LLB and was admitted to the Bar in 2000, however, suggested that a policy decision should be taken regarding recruitment at state enterprises.
“The performance of none of the executive members were called into question. Normally before positions are advertised, interviews are conducted internally. I am of the view that some policy decisions should be put into place regarding state enterprises to ensure that such actions do not come across arbitrary,” the former beauty queen said.
Cadiz defends restructuring process
Defending the decision to recruit new staff, line minister for e-Teck Minister of Trade and Industry Stephen Cadiz said decisions were taken based on evaluations. “Evaluations were conducted and if it was felt people were not suited for the position, the posts were advertised. From what I understand the company that was hired to deal with recruitment has almost completed the job. “We advertised for a number of senior executive positions and created some new positions because when we came into office there was a number of things that had to be done. There were huge cost overruns and we had to do a complete reorganisation.” Cadiz, however, denied allegations that existing staff was not given the opportunity to re-apply for jobs.