Moves are afoot to put in place a new management team at the state-owned Gravel Concrete & Emulsion Production Corporation (GCEPC) better known as Gravel & Concrete.
Well-placed sources told THE NEW TODAY that the new Board of Directors, headed by former Congress government minister Sylvester Quarless has taken the position that there is not any serious management structure in place to move the statutory body forward in keeping with the new administration’s transformational agenda.
According to one source close to the new board, a decision was taken to replace the Manager, Wilfred Hercules, a retiree from the Grenada public service, who has been off the job for more than six months and getting paid while not performing.
He said that Gravel & Concrete will definitely be without a manager by this weekend and the Board will soon be advertising to find a suitable person to fill the vacant post.
This contrast sharply with Hercules’ version of events when he was contacted Thursday for comment on reports that he was no longer being retained to manage the corporation.
Hercules was seen on the job Monday and within hours left the compound.
Quarless was also seen on the Mt Rush compound of Gravel & Concrete when Hercules showed up for work for the first time in several months.
Hercules said he had taken the decision to bow out in order for the corporation to get a much younger person to take on the tasks that lie ahead in moving the corporation forward into the future.
However, the source dropped strong hints that the manager was pushed out and had not voluntarily decided to quit the job.
He said, “How can you keep a man employed getting nothing, doing nothing for all this period of time? Not only that – he can’t even do the blasted work? How do you keep these kinds of people employed?”
The newly appointed Board of Directors has also taken the decision to put in place an Operations Committee to take charge in terms of making decisions on what to do to resolve a number of problems affecting Gravel & Concrete.
He said that things at the corporation “are in such a bad way – it’s just ridiculous how the men have this place.”
“I don’t know who was running this country,” he quipped.
The insider at Gravel & Concrete also made some passing remarks on the Acting Manager, Martin Thomas, who is known to be the deputy Chairman of the St George North-west constituency branch of the New National Party (NNP) of former Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell.
“He (Thomas) is not doing anything. Truck break down, loaders breaking down – all kinds of things,” said the source who expressed disappointment with the leadership that he was providing to the multi-million dollar state body.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the newly appointed Board plans to hold regular meetings in the coming months in order to take critical decisions to put the corporation on a much sounder footing.
About a month ago, an insider indicated that Gravel & Concrete had in excess of EC$3 million dollars in outstanding payments to be collected mainly from construction companies that purchase material from it.
He said then that the biggest debtor to the state body was a Trinidad-owned construction company which is owing $693, 246.66 up to the end of August, and also another construction company owing ($96,000.00).
He said that he had seen figures prepared by the Finance Department of the corporation which suggested that the statutory body is “not in the red” financially but can be solid when it comes to cash.
“The overall debt envelope is $3, 370, 531.06 – not debt but who is owing, that is money outside (to be collected)” he added.
During the 2013-18 rule of the Keith Mitchell-led NNP administration, the World Bank had identified the then loss-making Gravel & Concrete as one of several state-owned bodies that should be privatised.