The National Conservation Commission (NCC) is again rejecting claims it has been rehiring workers since retrenching some 300 in 2014 as part of Government’s public sector cost-cutting exercise.
General Manager Keith Neblett told Barbados TODAY this afternoon reports suggesting that the state agency was bringing back workers were “definitely not true”.
“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.
However, a person who is soon to begin working with the statutory agency told Barbados TODAY the NCC would begin hiring in two weeks.
In April last year, the NCC announced the appointment of 103 workers with effect from the beginning of that month.
At that time, Minister of the Environment and Drainage Dr Denis Lowe had sought to set the record straight following a meeting with newly appointed workers and the NCC’s Board of Management at Almond Bay Caterers.
“Since the retrenchment, we lost 87 workers due to retirement, death or other means. We took a position in concert with Government’s position not to hire additional persons . . . .We have only hired eight people so the story that is being told is untrue that the Commission has hired 170 people. That is a myth,” Lowe emphasized then.
In addition, he had stated that the NCC had satisfied all its obligations to retrenched workers, with many of them even receiving letters of recommendation from the state agency to pursue and chart new career paths.
The state enterprise is currently entangled in a legal fight with The Crane Beach Resort over beach access amidst a public outcry over what is being seen as efforts by the hotel to privatize the beach.
A number of protesters converged on the beach last Saturday, declaring “dah beach is mine”, a line from the hit song Jack by veteran calypsonian and Cultural Ambassador Anthony Gabby Carter, who has accused the luxury resort of evicting vendors from the beach last month.
Sean Alleyne, the hotel’s general manager, had told Barbados TODAY the dispute was not with the vendors but with the NCC, which he blames for granting licences for vending on lands owned by the resort, and which he threatened to sue.
But in response, the state entity, which is responsible for managing and regulating parks and beaches, has since declared there are no private beaches in Barbados.
Neblett also disclosed that a survey would be conducted shortly to determine once and for all, where beach land begins and ends.