Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 9th 2014 Contents A15
February 9, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Calls are being made for the
Integrity Commission to inves-
tigate what is being described
as "wastage of public funds" at
the Public Transport Service
This after members of the
board held a lavish New Year s
staff party in Tobago, staying at
a fancy hotel for two nights and
two days at taxpayers expense.
A source said the party was
held at the Pan Am Building at
Crown Point on January 4.
Chairman of the board Dr Vin-
cent Lasse and three directors
booked at Rovanel s Resort at
Store Bay Local Road, Crown
Point. A source, who requested
anonymity, said the Tobago party
was the second to have been held
for staffers, as one was hosted in
Trinidad in December.
Saying it was a complete waste
of taxpayers money to have two
parties, frustrated employees are
questioning why the executives
chose to spend the weekend in
Tobago, instead of returning to
Trinidad after the party was over.
"This is surprising since PTSC
is crying out for new toilets and
facilities in the properties depart-
ment and the marketing depart-
ment. The roof of the hub is also
leaking for years and the place is
generally in a mess.
"Buses shut down every day,
and this is how they are spending
our money?" an irate employee
"How could the PTSC board
travel when money is a problem
and all these issues exist?"
Checks by the Guardian
revealed that flights were available
for the executives to return home
after the party on the Saturday
night or early Sunday morning.
However, instead of booking their
tickets, the executives stayed the
weekend at the hotel, returning
to Trinidad on January 6.
"I am told it was director
(named called) who insisted that
she stayed over because she not
travelling late, and chairman Lasse
agreed. My opinion is that if you
don t want to travel late, then
stay home. Don t waste the
money of the people of T&T.
What was a simple Christmas
function on Saturday evening
became a two-night stay in a
fancy hotel at taxpayers expense,"
the source said.
The Guardian was reliably
informed that apart from flight
tickets and hotel rooms, PTSC
also footed the bill for all the
ground transportation and meals
for the entire weekend.
"This was not a business trip
but a fete; This was not company
business. Taxpayers had to pay
the expenses for two days and
two nights and it is unfair, espe-
cially when workers are clamour-
ing for better working conditions.
This is something that the
Integrity Commission should
investigate," the official said.
Transport Minister Stephen
Cadiz was reportedly out of the
country when the party was held.
Lasse: It's a fallacy
Contacted for comment, Dr
Lasse admitted that two parties
were held. However, he said it
was customary to have two par-
ties---one for the Trinidad staffers
and the other for Tobago staffers.
Saying it was cost effective to
host separate parties, Lasse added,
"It would cost too much to bring
everyone from Tobago to
Trinidad. It is much cheaper to
have it in Tobago, so this thing
about wasting money is a fallacy.
People are trying to cause trouble.
Much more money would have
had to be spent if you had to bring
the whole of Tobago to Trinidad."
Asked to justify costs, Lasse
said he was unsure about the fig-
ures, advising this reporter to
contact the accounts department.
"I don t have the exact figure
off the top of my head. Call the
PTSC accountant and find out
the figure for yourself."
Asked why the directors chose
to stay two nights in Tobago, an
irate Lasse said, "If you go to a
function on Saturday, would you
expect to fly back on Saturday
night? Would you have wanted
to return home immediately?"
He also said that the board took
a decision to have separate par-
ties. He also said PTSC provided
a vehicle to executives during
their Tobago stay.
Contacted on his cellphone,
PTSC s finance manager Harry
Bisram said he did not have the
details about the cost of the trip.
Director Carol Noel declined
comment. She said, "I have no
comment to make. I would sug-
gest you contact the head office
and speak to Carl Ramdeo. He is
in the communications depart-
ment. We did have a function in
Tobago and we normally have it
separate. Only board members
who were invited went to Tobago,
and we have been having it like
that over the years."
...while buses shut down,
workers cry out for better facilities
Dr Vincent Lasse
"It would cost too much to bring everyone
from Tobago to Trinidad. It is much
cheaper to have it in Tobago, so this thing
about wasting money is a fallacy. People
are trying to cause trouble."
---Dr Vincent Lasse
Continues on Page A16
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