Friday, October 19, 2012

ADB denies PNM allegations of race bias; 70% of staff are Afro Trinis

The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday responded to allegations made the day before by opposition senator Fitzgerald Hinds who told the Senate that the state organisation's recruitment is based on a preference for persons of Indian ethnicity.

Read the story: Hinds engages in racist talk during Budget debate

In a media release from the office of the Chief Executive Officer, the bank said Hinds was wrong and provided the relevant data to support its position, noting that when the new board took office it adopted a policy of becoming "an equal opportunity employer". It also pointed out that the board does not get involved in hiring as alleged by Hinds, except at the executive level.

The release stated: "It is noteworthy to mention that the racial composition of the staff at the ADB is as follows: 
  • 70% Afro Trinidadians
  • 25% Indo Trinidadians 
  • 5% Mixed Race"
The ADB also stated that Hinds' statement that it spent $400,000 on Independence decorations is not true. It said it spent less than half that amount. "This figure is inaccurate, erroneous and untrue...all spending is in line with robust scrutiny and a full needs analysis."

The bank said what is noteworthy is that its loss of $270 million includes at least $15 million on legal fees by the predecessor board, which also wrote off $43 million in delinquent loans over the past eight years.

The ADB also responded to accusations of irregularities for its aborted Family Day event. Hinds said the ADB spent $20,000 for an event that never happened.

The bank acknowledged that it did not hold the event as planned because the majority of staff "indicated, through their union, that they will not participate in a Sports and Family Day". It said $20,000 was used as a down payment "for several elements of this occasion including the booking of the grounds where the event was to take place."

It also denied any link with Top Design Advertising Group as alleged by Hinds and called on the PNM senator to check his facts. 

And with respect to the resignation of directors, the bank said two of them - Winston Rudder and Liesel-Maria Williams - quit because of a conflict of interest resulting from their connection to a consulting firm that did work for the ADB. A third director, Nirvan Maharaj, voluntarily left the board to pursue other interests

The ADB said it is "unfortunate" that a Senator would use Parliamentary Privilege "to make spurious and unfounded allegations" against the bank.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai