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Outrage over severance packages at Petrojam

General Manager of Petrojam Winston Watson

 

The board of the state owned refinery, Petrojam, was harshly criticised on Tuesday following disclosure that it approved payment of more than $16 million to two former senior managers in their separation packages.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was told that the payment to the former human resources manager, Yolande Ramharrack, totaled $9.2 million, of which she took home $4.1 million after deductions.

Floyd Grindley, the former general manager, took home $3.8 million from a gross payment of $7.2 million.

PAC member Mikael Phillips said the payments set a bad precedent given that the issues involving the two remain unresolved.

Combining the payments received during the period of employment and the severance packages, Peter Bunting, another member of the PAC, described the situation as “scandalous”.

Bunting’s colleague, Fitz Jackson, called for the Auditor General to look into the payments.

He also questioned whether there was any way the funds paid to the former Petrojam managers could be recovered.

The payments were reportedly approved by the Petrojam board and the finance ministry.

Explained

Winston Watson, General Manager of  Petrojam, explained that the continued employment of the Human Resources Manager was untenable in circumstances in which she was being told during disciplinary hearings that "I have no confidence in you; I don't want to work with you, and then when the hearing finished at one o'clock you have to go back to the office and you have to work with the same person, and we had a lot of HR matters that were piling up and piling up."

He also said the decision was made against sending Ms Ramharrack on leave while the issues were being investigated as she would still have received a salary during the period.

He said a similar approach was taken in respect of the General Manager.



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