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GRENLEC in chaos

The Grenlec headquarters building at Dusty Highway in the south of the island

We have a lot of problems.

This is the view of a senior staffer at the Grenada Electricity Company (GRENLEC) who is calling for the intervention of the Dickon Mitchell-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration to rescue the company from what she sees as poor management at the top.

“It’s at a point now where I think the company is in meltdown,” said the employee who accused the Interim General Manager Clyde Hosten of stalling their efforts to get a meeting with the Line Minster who is the Prime Minister to vent on their concerns.

The staffer warned Grenadians that Grenlec will be forced to engage from time-to-time in load-shedding of electricity due to poor management decisions on aging equipment.

She said the management has been repeatedly warned by the Generation Manager Duane Cenac that based on “solid engineering principles” and the “trajectory of growth” that Grenlec will need to acquire additional generation because of its already aging generating sets.

“We are in a position where we have over the next two years at significant costs to rent generators up to 10 megawatts to meet the shortfall,” she added.

“Just the natural attrition of these devices require you after a period of time to want to change them (generating sets) out – that’s just good business and engineering sense,” she remarked.

According to the Grenlec insider, Cenac even prepared a paper on the issue but those calling the shots at the company seemingly ignored the warnings and have now forced the utility company into a period of load shedding from time to time.

“We had to acquire some interim solutions in the form of rental of generators and so he (Cenac) made those requests and nobody seemed to have taken it seriously or ignored it,” she told THE NEW TODAY.

The staffer indicated that one of the biggest grievances at the moment is the manner in which Cenac, considered as “a very competent” and “most brilliant Engineer” tendered his resignation a week ago to take up a job offer in another Caribbean island.

She disclosed that the staff at Grenlec have made several requests to the Manager to organise a meeting with the Prime Minister to talk in an open and frank manner about their many grievances but he is not doing it.

She also said that a much bigger problem for the company is the lack of cohesion among the management team on the way forward for the company.

She also accused Hosten “of holding back” and not “sharing information” with the management team about developments within Grenlec.

“Staff knows it before we know it, people on the outside know things before we know it so the management team is alienated, staff is demoralised,” she quoted a senior manager as saying.

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According to the staffer, the Grenlec workers want to believe that PM Dickon Mitchell as the Line Minister for the company should be made aware of these issues as Grenlec has become “a ship left on its own in the open waters.”

“Nobody seems to realise that this is a strategic national asset and that if it is not attended to urgently something is just going to break,” she said.

The staffer stated that even up to last week, some workers have approached Hosten about the need to facilitate a meeting with the Prime Minister to allow them to vent and to inform him in a face-to-face encounter that Grenlec is on the brink “of mashing up” due to poor management decisions.

She said the same things that the staffers have been telling Hosten in meetings about the company: they want to tell PM Dickon Mitchell “without any holes barred – they want the Prime Minister to know because they are concerned about Grenlec and Grenada.”

The staffer indicated that what is keeping Grenlec afloat at the moment is the fact that the company “has some very competent and professional staffers” who are prepared to go the extra mile to make things happen.

She called for the replacement of Hosten on the grounds that he is badly lacking in managerial skills to take Grenlec forward.

“Clyde has to go – the bottomline is that this guy has to go,” she remarked.

The staffer also accused Hosten of not even informing workers as well as persons in top management positions about the decision of Cenac who was referred to as an “intelligent and hardworking person” to quit the position and seek employment elsewhere.

She said the reality of the situation at Grenlec is that most of the management team feel very isolated from the manager.

In looking back at Grenlec since Congress came into government, she said the appointment of Ben Brathwaite as Chairman brought hope to workers as he was highly regarded as a knowledgeable person in electricity generation.

However, she said that Brathwaite was undermined by persons who had their own personal agenda for the company.

A few months ago Rodney George replaced Brathwaite as Chairman of the Grenlec Board of Directors.

He also quit the position and was replaced by James Pitt, the former Manager at Cable & Wireless.

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