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Manager at Gravel & Concrete forced to quit amidst turmoil at the state body

The head office of Gravel & Concrete at Mon Rush overlooking Queen’s Park

Two months after assuming duties as Manager at the state-owned Gravel & Concrete corporation, Sean Smith has been forced out of the company.

Informed sources told THE NEW TODAY that Smith’s downfall came in the aftermath of Tuesday’s first meeting between Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Development Dickon Mitchell and the Sylvester Quarless-led Board of Directors and the Manager.

The sudden resignation of the manager came against the backdrop of a series of articles published by this media outlet about low morale among employees at the company as well as several problems taking place within the corporation under the new Board of Directors.

An insider said it was decided to give Smith who landed the job following an application sent from Canada where he was residing to be allowed to leave on the grounds of voluntary resignation or face the prospects of being sacked as Manager.

According to an insider at the company, the hiring of Smith who did not seem to have the experience and expertise to manage Gravel & Concrete brings into sharp focus the persons who took the decision to offer him the job over several other applicants.

He said that some workers were often complaining about the slow pace at which the new manager was giving authorisation to purchase parts that were badly needed to bring back vehicles and equipment into production.

One staffer told THE NEW TODAY that the policy was to purchase a part that was needed in a hurry from one supplier but the manager insisted that quotations be received from no less than three suppliers and that was resulting in long delays to get the part.

Another of the complaints levelled at Smith related to the areas in which he chose to cut costs like withdrawing cellphone service from the crew that was going out to engage in pouring of ready mixed concrete to customers.

According to an insider, the company was running the risk of losing thousands of dollars if a Concrete truck broke down with a mixture as workers were refusing to use their personal cellphones to call back and report the problem.

He accused Smith of making a number of unilateral decisions without consulting other staff members about their implications.

The forced resignation of the manager at Gravel & Concrete comes as workers at the state-owned body were calling for the Minister of Sports Ron Redhead to look into a matter involving the harsh treatment handed out to a national footballer by the new management team at the company.

A spokesman for the workers told THE NEW TODAY that several of the employees are up in arms over a decision taken by management to deduct seven days holiday from the national footballer for being off the job to train for the recent international game against the United States.

The national footballer has been identified as Joshua Isaac who plays locally for Paradise football club.

He said that in the past the worker will often get time-off for training sessions with the national team as part of preparation for international encounters but the new management is adopting a different approach on the issue.

“They took out a 7 days holiday from the guy because he was in camp and that is not right at all,” he added.

“…We are not leaving that there because that is not right. You can’t treat national players and things like that. Where is the motivation? I don’t understand it,” he said.

The spokesman pointed out that the Grenada Football Association (GFA) will normally write to employers about the need to provide time-off for national players to attend training sessions and to attend camp.

He said that most business places will often co-operate and not even make deductions from the salaries of sportsmen who are on duty with the national team.

He expressed concern that the new management at Gravel & Concrete will “take that (holiday) away from the guy” and called for the intervention of the Sports Minister.

According to the worker, he would like to see the government put a firm policy in place that companies should not interfere with the salaries and benefits due to national sportsmen and women when on assignment with Grenada.

He pointed out that this is among the many grievances that workers at Gravel & Concrete have at the moment and wants the new Line Minister who is Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell, to hold an urgent meeting with the staff to hear their grievances.

“The place is disorganised – real disorganised,” he said.

Another staff member told THE NEW TODAY that he would like to see Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell revisit the composition of the Board of Directors headed by Quarless because it is not effective.

He feared that some members of the Board are doing things on their own without the knowledge of other members.

“There is a member of the board that’s based in the Diaspora. I am not sure that he is aware of many of the board decisions,” he said.

Investigations carried out revealed that the Board member is based in the United States and attends meetings mainly on the Zoom platform.

The member has never met personally with several board members and staffers at the corporation.

The staffer called for the recruitment of someone to work at Gravel & Concrete fulltime with “a geological background or even someone with knowledge of Concrete Mix designs or even someone with some experience with Garage Management or Fleet Management.”

There are reports that Gravel & Concrete has been losing thousands of dollars in lost contracts due to frequent breakdown of its fleet of vehicles, especially trucks for pouring concrete mix.

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