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The Grenlec blackmail issue

The head office of Grenlec is located at the entrance of Dusty Highway in the south of the island

A former Director of the state-owned Grenada Electricity Company (GRENLEC) believes that the company has found itself in an embarrassing situation over the manner in which it ended the longstanding relationship with its Human Resource Manager.

The former Director called THE NEW TODAY to indicate that the recent chain of events on the issue seems to suggest that the utility company was engaged in some form of blackmail to get the employee to sign away her rights not to take legal action if she felt being violated.

He said the issue has been muddied by the alleged attempt by Grenlec to sell a company vehicle to the employee on the condition that she signed an Indemnification letter which could be interpreted as a blatant attempt to engage in blackmail.

There are reports that the employee was not happy with the package offered to her as her contract was not renewed and hinted that she would seek legal redress in the high court.

A source familiar with the issue claimed that Grenlec attempted to get the senior worker to sign an Indemnification letter not to take any legal action without any discussion taking place between the two parties.

He said the controversy was apparently sparked by a letter from an attorney-at-law on behalf of the employee asking questions about the ending of the relationship.

He indicated that the sticky point for Grenlec is the manner in which it seemingly approached the issue with the employee.

“…When you want somebody to sign an Indemnification letter it comes like almost an out of court settlement where the two parties sit down and agree, discuss and come to terms and then based on the terms you prepare your indemnification letter because you don’t expect the person to change their mind and challenge you.”

“The (sale of) vehicle should have had nothing to do with that and that’s a big blunder in my opinion.”

According to the ex-Director, during his stint on the board he is aware that several staffers had purchased vehicles from Grenlec that was assigned to them for several years and on their departure from the company never had to sign an Indemnification letter.

“That is where I think the problem comes in my opinion,” he quipped.

The ex-Director who worked closely for years with acting General Manager Clive Hosten doubted that he was the architect of the Indemnification letter as he is known in the company to have a very timid reputation.

“He (Hosten) would not have a position on it plus any position in this regard, he would just wait (for instruction),” said the ex-Board member.

The ex-Director believes that if the order came from the Chairman or the Board of Directors itself, Hosten “will not tell them that we can’t do that – he will never say we can’t do that … and say what you’re asking me is tantamount to blackmail – we can’t do that, let us sell the vehicle to the lady and leave it at that.”

“We can talk in terms of the Indemnification letter with regards to the dismissal – he wouldn’t do that, he will just follow orders,” he said.

When contacted for comment on the issue, Hosten declined on the grounds that it was an internal matter.

Board Chairman Rodney George, a former General Manager of the utility company in the late 1970’s did not answer his phone when THE NEW TODAY called him.

Speculation is rife that an embarrassed Grenlec will not make any public comment on the issue of alleged blackmail of the former employee but will choose “to ride it out.”

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