Port Mourant NDC Overseer fired again

0
Budwatty Ramnarine leaving the NDC Office after receiving the letter of termination

Overseer of the Johns/Port Mourant Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), Budwatty Ramnarine, has been fired, for a second time, over claims of abuse and fraud.

The letter of termination of service was delivered to Ramnarine on Wednesday.

The document was signed by Secretary of the Local Government Commission (LGC) Nickalai Pryce.

The letter cited 24 allegations against the Overseer, which spanned the period 2016 to 2019 but not limited to that period.

Among these are the assault to the Clerical Assistant on more than one occasion; being abusive, intimidating and tormenting the staff; embezzlement of the NDC’s funds; falsifying amounts for travelling; making undue deductions from the wages and salaries of staff of the NDC, among others.

In one instance in 2019, Ramnarine was accused of not recording payments made by market vendors, who had owed large sums to the NDC.

The matter was brought to the fore last year when some of those vendors were contacted about monies they owe and they all stated that they had cleared their debts.

The Overseer is also accused of instructing the Market Clerk and the Revenue Clerk not to work on Sundays. She worked instead as then Revenue Collector at the Port Mourant Market, and paid herself $1,000.

However, between September last year and March this year, the NDC says there was no record of the revenues collected on Sundays during that period when Ramnarine appointed herself as the Sunday Market Clerk.

According to the letter, Ramnarine was duly informed of the commencement of the investigation into the allegations made against her and was asked to appear for an interview at the Local Government Commission’s Secretariat, on March 13, 2020, and provide oral responses to the allegations.

However, according to the letter, she was given an opportunity to submit a written response to the allegations on or before March 16, 2020, but she did not.

The letter explained that in the light of the events, the LGC has concluded after careful examination of the facts before it; found that Ramnarine is guilty of Serious Misconduct.

“The LGC pursuant to the powers vested in it, by virtue of section 13 (1) & (2) of the LGC Act, and in keeping with section 10 (1) & (2) of the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act 1997, hereby informs you that you are summarily dismissed from the position of Overseer for Serious Misconduct, with effect from Thursday, June 16, 2020.”

Ramnarine is also required to return all the Council’s property in her possession to the Chairman of the Port Mourant/ John’s NDC within 72 hours, the letter states.

The Overseer was previously dismissed from the NDC but was rehired under the caretaker Coalition Administration. She was subsequently suspended after her reappointment, but the Communities Ministry again intervened and overturned the suspension.