August 3, 2012
NEMO’s Otto Sam ‘will never be intimidated’

A staff member at this country’s disaster management agency has told the organization’s director that he would not be intimidated, even as the Ministry of National Security has been asked to have a letter he wrote to two local newspapers evaluated.{{more}}

Director of the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) Howie Prince has said that a letter by Otto Sam, published in Searchlight on July 24 and The News on July 20, would bring NEMO into disrepute.

But Sam has challenged Prince and Deputy Director of NEMO Michelle Forbes “to deny any of the fact and truth printed in the press after refusal by Management to listen, and amend its ways.”

Sam, in a July 30 memo, responded to Prince’s request for a Ministry of National Security evaluation of the letter.

He said that the Chief Personnel Officer is not asked to evaluate when a senior NEMO staff member “writes/copies to the Permanent Secretary on a matter concerning a worker at NEMO without consulting the Director (who is at work).”

The same senior staff member, Sam said, “is involved in a brawl in the General Office, the Director is informed through an internal Memo and ask[s] other staff but no request for a report from the Deputy and no request of the CPO for ‘evaluation’ and possible action.”

Sam further said that the same senior staff member “admitted to giv[ing] several barrels of items to a senior politician, when there was no event and or disaster declared anywhere, and no policy in place for such, but the Director did not ask for an ‘evaluation’ as to how that would affect NEMO’s image and actions to be taken.”

A junior worker, Sam further said in his memo, “goes home after an event, the Director asks him to write a report as to why he left, however, the same Director does not ask the [senior staff member] to write a report on what transpired that sad and shameful day when [there was] a shouting match in NEMO’s General Office which caused workers, including overseas volunteers, to seek what the chaos was.”

He further said NEMO “was flooded by telephone calls from scores of persons”, like the unidentified person who wrote an article in The News on July 27, complaining about confusion reportedly caused by an NEMO hurricane sensitization event that included loud music from a truck.

“For pointing out these elementary errors inside, Otto, nor staff is given the opportunity to address matters (in house) — but put the truth out and ‘action’ will be taken against him,” said Sam, who also said that NEMO has not had a staff meeting since September.

“A staff whose member spends three days away from their home during crisis, and who is neither paid for extra time or given leave in lieu of pay is late after lunch by a few minutes, is given a warning letter by [a senior staff member] and has her salary half day (to do her exams) taken away forcing her to reschedule her exams,” Sam further said.

“Sir, you make NEMO even more interesting. I recommend that you be sent to the Ministry of Agriculture so that you can write to the CPO and Attorney General to penalize those who investigated the allege misconduct of officers there. After all that’s how we have become,” Sam further said in his letter to Prince.

“Sir, you would note that I did not say that a review of the national disaster plan is overdue, the annual workplan was lagging behind, our presenter(s) go out with no real preparation and or team work and they sometimes forget their stuff and must return without presenting because of the lack of adequate preparation, and thousands of dollars for projects are there idling because we not ready!” Sam said.

“… I am not and will never be intimidated neither by the lines from an Attorney nor the hollow words of a Director who I feel sorry for,” he further stated in the memo. (KXC)