Minister of Urban Development and Transport including Ports, the Honourable Wendy Phipps, appointed three new members to the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) and three new members to the St. Kitts Urban Development Corporation Ltd (SKUDC) board to serve alongside the other tenured members.
Honourable Phipps explained her reasons for doing this during her press briefing on May 27.
She said in relation to SCASPA, “It came to my attention that some 62 persons were hired between January 2022 and May 2022. My concern was further heightened by the fact that a number of persons that are newly hired were being paid significantly more than other employees who had been hired between 4 to 10 years prior to do virtually the same jobs.”
She added, “What has exacerbated this situation is that in spite of my written and oral directive to place a freeze on hiring, five (5) additional hires were done, with a number of them being paid at this exorbitant rate.”
The Honourable Minister said that the net effect of this situation is that these 67 new hires create an extra payroll burden to SCASPA of almost $2 million per year, which is already heavily in the red.
In the case of the SKUDC, Honourable Phipps stated that three board members were added due to a number of issues.
She said, “My research has also uncovered that the issue of conflicts of interest would have been evident at the Board level of the UDC. Independent and credible verification proved that one director of the Corporation had been asked to resign as a result of him writing a cheque to himself. It should also be noted that the said Director, according to the Minutes, ‘was charged with spearheading the project’ to construct a Security Guard Hut at the marina.”
She also stated another concern that surfaced during her Minutes of the Board meetings of the UDC was a listing of “UDC Projects/Financial Obligations which is an outline of the large amounts that were to have been paid out by the UDC in 2021. While most of these expenses were related to operational costs within the UDC’s mandate, there appears to have been provision of support to the former Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Shawn Richards, in the amount of approximately $100,000 for the outfitting of his box at the CPL.”