National Quarries shifted from Energy to Works Ministry, board asked to resign

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

National Quarries Company Ltd workers stage a protest outside the company’s head office, Churchill Roosevelt Highway, Piarco on August 2. FILE PHOTO –

The members of the board of the National Quarries Company Ltd were asked to resign over the weekend as the company has been transferred from under the Ministry of Energy to the Ministry of Works.

The request was confirmed by National Quarries CEO Dr Vindel Kerr during a phone interview on Tuesday but he said the board had not yet resigned.

However, a senior official at the company said he was informed there was “no longer a board.”

Kerr went on to inform Newsday the company had been transferred to another ministry but refused to indicate which ministry. He said the relevant ministry would issue a press release when it chose to let the public know.

“Our honourable Prime Minister has transferred National Quarries to another ministry. That’s all. And there’s no problem in that because if there is a better fit in another ministry, it happens all the time.

“In the constitution he (the new minister) has a free hand to ask all his other 20 or 15 boards to resign and he would select his own director. Because a minister, under the constitution, has the prerogative, the pleasure of determining the directors he or she wants. National Quarries is no different.”

He stressed that the board did not resign because there was a problem at the company but that National Quarries was a “stable public body” that “remains in good stead.”

In the September 12 issue of the TT Gazette, President Christine Kangaloo, acting in accordance with the advice of the PM, revoked the responsibilities of the company from Energy Minister Stuart Young and assigned them to Works Minister Rohan Sinanan effective August 30. The notification was dated September 4.

Peter Burke, senior labour relations officer of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union, said the Ministry of Works was a customer of National Quarries.

He hoped the ministry would secure more materials and improve operations as there was over-dependence on contractors for major aspects of operations including blasting, transport to the processing plant and crushing of the aggregate.

“Clearly things weren’t going right at the national quarries and some action needed to be taken. It is quite possible more action needs to be taken because, according to the workers, the recent problem at National Quarries is still there.”

Calls and messages to Young and Sinanan, who were attending the second day of a three-day Cabinet retreat at Crews Inn, Chaguaramas, went unanswered.