A senior member of staff at the state-owned Gravel, Concrete & Emulsion Production Corporation at Mt Rush overlooking the national stadium at Queen’s Park wants to see the new Dickon Mitchell-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration implement a rescue plan for the state entity.
The individual called THE NEW TODAY following Monday’s press conference by the Prime Minister in which he outlined plans to turn around the loss-making Marketing & National Importing Board (MNIB) through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) in light of its massive EC$15.1 million debt.
According to the individual, Gravel & Concrete is an important government asset and was lacking in proper and effective management for several years under the former New National Party (NNP) government of defeated Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and was not able to make the kinds of profits that it should have made.
“These guys and them make a disaster. We are almost like Marketing Board – we’re in a bad situation – real bad, it ain’t good at all. We have to sit down and put a rescue plan in place,” he said.
The senior staffer stated that too many important equipment were not repaired for years and no serious effort was made to spend the financial resources required to bring them back into production.
He cited the case of one of the largest bulldozers on the island which is a very critical piece of equipment for a quarry and was left in a state of disrepair since 2018 while the then management took the decision to hire equipment from the private sector to do the job.
This, he said was a simple case of mismanagement as one of the then top managers told workers that he is not spending any money on the bulldozer which needed just a simple part to bring it back into production as this is a very “important piece of equipment” in Quarry operation.
He told THE NEW TODAY that efforts are now being made to get the equipment back up and running.
He also said that at the company’s Telescope site “these guys and them cut up the cutter in piece” and it is now beyond repair.
The senior staffer also disclosed that the majority of equipment including concrete trucks are down at Gravel & Concrete.
He said too, that under the previous management team put in place by the NNP regime, those in charge did not make good decisions on some of the equipment that were purchased for the company.
“It couldn’t be more bad than that – it’s a real mess,” he said and added that “these guys and them just run the place down.”
According to the staffer, there is a lot of work to be done under the new manager that has been in place since February 1 to bring Gravel & Concrete back on stream.
“….Without equipment we’re spinning top in mud,” he quipped.
The staffer charged also that under the former regime “everybody (was) doing as they like” in Gravel & Concrete and that the administration just kept sending all kinds of people to work at Gravel & Concrete.
He expressed concern that “it still has a lot of square pegs in round holes inside there” especially political appointees under the former regime and the new government has to address and fix the problem.
Gravel & Concrete was one of the state-owned companies that was identified by a World Bank study that should have been privatized due to its financial burden on the State.
The then Public Utilities Minister under the former NNP government, Gregory Bowen had started talks with a Trinidad businessman to enter into a PPP arrangement with the State to rescue the corporation.