A day after Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley revealed that an urgent probe had been ordered into the operations of the state-owned Kensington Oval Management Incorporated (KOMI), the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), bargaining agent for KOMI workers, today went one step further in calling for a forensic audit of the local cricket management body.
“I can confirm that we [the BWU] are involved in representing the workers in relation to serious concerns at the company. We support the decision of Minister Lashley to carry out an investigation, but what is needed is a forensic audit of the activities of KOMI,” BWU Deputy General Secretary Dwaine Paul told Barbados TODAY.
Paul, who had met on April 7 last year with Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports Ruth Blackman to try to resolve the concerns of the staff, also revealed that the union had carried out its own investigation into KOMI, adding that “what we have uncovered is cause for serious concern”.
He also said the union was preparing to brief the minister on its findings.
Just yesterday, Lashley revealed to Barbados TODAY that he had instructed the KOMI Chairman Anthony Waldron to carry out an investigation into the contents of an unsigned letter, purportedly from staff, containing startling allegations of mismanagement and abuse.
Lashley said he expected the chairman to submit a report to him in the shortest possible time.
“Even though it is an anonymous letter, the allegations are serious enough . . . and as minister responsible [for KOMI] I have a responsibility to look into them,” Lashley said after a six-page letter, which was addressed to him, was made public.
The correspondence, dated February 22, 2017, includes a number of serious allegations which Barbados TODAY has decided not to publish because of the legal implications. However, there were questions raised about the ethics involved in some business decisions, and concerns about the company’s direction and its financial viability, with the authors making it clear there was a crisis of confidence at KOMI.
The letter also raised concerns about the Permanent Secretary’s handling of the workers’ grievances, saying Blackman had not kept her promise to convene follow up talks with their union.
Having failed to get a response from Blackman, they decided to turn to Lashley, the letter stated.
“A promise was made by her to get to the bottom of said issues and get back to use within a few weeks. A year has almost passed and we’re unable to get any form of communication or to reconvene a meeting. These issues are still unresolved and additional issues have since surfaced, hence your receipt of this letter,” they wrote to Lashley.
When contacted today, KOMI’s Chief Executive Officer Ben Toppin said he had no comment to make on the matter.