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September 2, 2011
Shake-up coming at VINLEC?

Employees at the state owned electricity company VINLEC are wondering whether another ‘shake up’ at the company is imminent.{{more}}

Chairman of the company, former Minister of Government, René Baptiste, summoned the entire senior management staff of the company to a meeting yesterday, Thursday, September 1.

At press time, SEARCHLIGHT could not confirm what was on the meeting’s agenda, but some members of staff have expressed the view that the meeting was called to deal with the fallout resulting from the suspension of an employee last Friday.

The employee, who works in the company’s credit control department, was sent home for two weeks without pay, because of, according to the letter issued to her, a verbal encounter she had with “the shareholder’s representative”.

All of the shares in the St. Vincent Electricity Company Ltd. (VINLEC) are owned by the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

One VINLEC employee told SEARCHLIGHT that some staff members of the utility company are angry about the woman’s suspension, which they feel was unfair, as according to the employee, “she was only doing her job”.

SEARCHLIGHT understands that the suspended employee ordered the disconnection of the electricity supply to a small business in a rural constituency, as the account was in arrears.

After the business’s electricity supply was disconnected, the credit control officer is said to have received an angry telephone call from the parliamentary representative for the area, who accused the employee, among other things, of being insensitive in ordering the disconnection, and being a supporter of the opposition New Democratic Party.

According to reports, there was a heated verbal exchange between the VINLEC employee and the politician, after which certain demands were made of VINLEC’s management in relation to the employee.

Information reaching SEARCHLIGHT also suggests that threats in relation to the continued employment at VINLEC of more than one employee were also made.

A major shake up of Vinlec’s top management took place in 2003, when seven senior members of staff were sacked, following the submission of a report done by Vantage Consultants, a United States based firm.

Those axed included the Manager Engineering, the Manager Finance and Administration, the Senior Planning Engineer, the Senior Generation Engineer, the Stores Controller, the Mechanical Maintenance Supervisor 1 and the Station Supervisor, Union Island.

The firm reportedly found that there was need for urgent, critical action to be taken at the company.