With general elections due here within the next two months, yet another state-run agency is dismissing reports of a major hiring drive.
In almost identical denial to one made by head of the National Conservation Commission (NCC) Keith Neblett last week, General Manager of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) Keithroy Halliday said today his organization had only been filling posts that have become vacant, as he categorically denied that new positions had been created in the lead up to the much-anticipated national poll.
“That is always the speculation which is rife for almost all Government agencies around this time. We took on a number of individuals on a programme that runs for several months where we train these persons. Eventually the Barbados Water Authority will ultimately look at some of these individuals as a part of a hiring pool.
“Apart from that we have had a number of departments that have positions that we need to fill and these are not positions that were just created last week. These were established well over a year in some instances and we have now moved to try to fill them,” Halliday said.
However, sources within the BWA have painted a different picture regarding what they have described as a major recruitment drive. One source complained about the recent hires to Barbados TODAY amid delays in settling promised retroactive pay on April 1, which led to heightened tension between management and staff on Monday.
“It is part of the reason that persons got so angry when they didn’t get the money because they see all these people coming on staff. The same money that they could take and pay these new people, they could have taken and paid what is owed to us,” the aggrieved worker said.
However, Halliday explained that those persons who were recently brought on board at the BWA were critical to the functioning of the organization, although when pressed he did not reveal how many persons were hired.
“These are persons that are considered to be critical to the running of the Barbados Water Authority. So for instance if you look at the Legal Compliance Department, we needed to ensure that we have a department set up like that to deal with a number of matters internally. If you also look at the issue leakages and potable water issues, we have had to expand our hydrology services and our water quality department.
“Apart from that, we have done a number of interviews as part of our restructuring process started two years ago. The numbers that we employ right now are even less than the numbers that we had employed five years ago,” he stressed.
Last week, the NCC general manager also rejected claims that the statutory corporation had been rehiring workers after retrenching some 300 in 2014 as part of Government’s public sector cost-cutting exercise.
“We are not rehiring any workers. As people go home, we replaced them. That is not any rehiring. We have been doing that for more than a year or two. It is nothing unusual. All we do is replace people as they go home. If you call it rehiring, call it rehiring,” Neblett said.
“If you retire or die. That is basically it,” he added in explaining when workers are brought in.
At the same time he refused to say how many of those who had retired or died had been replaced, or if any more would be replaced anytime soon. (CM)