Blows for CAL: Big jobs without security checks

(Trinidad Express) Despite the global threat of terrorism, State-owned Caribbean Airlines recently hired new staff, including managers, without conducting the security background checks.

The airline’s management also hired new staff without following stipulated guidelines set the chief personnel officer.

A Joint Select Committee on State Enterprises yesterday morning raised concerns about CAL’s hiring practises.

It has recommended that CAL restart the hiring process for all positions that were filled without adhering to guidelines and which flouted the requirements of a background security check.

During a press conference yesterday morning to highlight the JSC’s report of the fifth enquiring into the operations and administration of CAL, JSC member Fazal Karim said CAL breached its own recruitment policy, which states that all staff are subject to security checks before being hired.

“We consider that to be extremely important, particularly in terms of the billions of dollars of plant, property and equipment and particularly in the context in a world now which is exposed to terrorism of various types. Also to the fact that anything, in terms of the security checks, that may jeopardise the safety, security and the airline’s international record as a good brand, we take this very seriously,” Karim said.

“We call upon Caribbean Airlines to ensure that all the necessary background checks are done and completed and if there are any investigations to be completed, those must be expeditiously adhered to,” he advised.

The Committee, in its report, again raised concerns about the number of new employees at CAL who were brought in from Digicel Trinidad and Tobago.

Digicel is the former employer of CAL’s chief executive officer Garvin Madera, Karim pointed out.

He noted that since Madera’s arrival at CAL, 11 persons from Digicel were brought across to CAL. He said six of them are now managers at CAL.

“The fact is that the incumbent CEO sat on the interview panel that interviewed persons from Digicel, which is an obvious conflict of interest and breach of good human resource practice,” he reported.

He said when these shortcomings were raised with the CAL management during the JSC public hearing in March, “there was apparent intransigence” by the management.

At the last JSC hearing, Madera assured that the hiring of the 11 Digicel workers were done above board.

Committee member Wade Mark was scathing in his opinion of Madera:

“This gentleman arrived on the compound of this airline a short while ago and he has already begun to ignore and violate a number of CAL’s policies. But one of the most egregious offences that a management can commit against the citizenry is the one that we have outlined. You cannot in 2018 ignore security in a world where we have experienced acts of terrorism. And for a company CEO to do so it is the height of reckless conduct and behaviour and this CEO ought to be taken to task on this point.”


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