“I wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and hand delivered on the 8th of September, 2021 seeking his assistance on the matter as a faithful supporter of the ULP; yet to this date no response.”
Dismissed Tourism Authority statistician Elingford Roban wrote that in a post on his Facebook page recently as he publicized his dismissal and circumstances surrounding his dismissal.
Roban’s dismissal followed a two-week suspension as a result of a post he made on Facebook in August stating that “St. Vincent has no competitive position.”
Roban, a national scholar, had highlighted this country’s statistical data on tourism which was already available to the public, having been published on the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank’s website and Facebook page ECCB Connects. He was publicly critical of the SVG Tourism Authority – the state agency created over a decade ago to market the country’s tourism product.
“It’s like we are trying to be the jack-of-all-trades but we have no niche, no reputation, no global reputation,” Roban told Hot97 FM in August.
He said “for instance, you could say, ‘Boy, we have to go to Trinidad, because Trinidad has the best Carnival in the world’, or, ‘We have to go to Dominica because they have the best eco product in the world.’”
Roban, a national scholar, is of the view that this country has not been getting satisfactory value for the millions allocated to the SVG Tourism Authority annually. And he went public to express his satisfaction.
“$17 million received in 2019 but yet St. Vincent and the Grenadines barely has a web presence as a tourist destination apart from a company founded in Australia selling “Vincentian” cooking lessons,” a post, dated August 17, read on Roban’s Facebook page.
A post on the same day said that the number of stay-over visitors to this country recorded in 2007 has not been surpassed.
Following his suspension, Roban was dismissed. In a recent post, Roban said a number of persons had been inquiring about his employment status with the Tourism Authority so he decided to give an update. He published a letter on his Facebook page and commented on the matter.
The letter, dated August 30th, 2021, and signed by the Tourism Authority’s CEO Glen Beache, stated: “I write further to our letter dated 18th August, 2021 and at the behest of the Board of Directors.
“I regret to inform that having reviewed your recent conduct and having taken legal advice, we hereby terminate your services with effect from Wednesday, 1st September, 2021.
“Your termination is pursuant to Section 9 (2) of the Protection of Employment Act 2003 for good cause and in keeping with Article 8.2 of your Staff Manual and Terms of Employment.”
Roban was employed for twelve years as a statistician, having started on August 7th, 2009.
The letter cited as “reasons for termination,” misconduct by divulging “confidential information” – a move deemed to be intended to bring the government agency into disrepute.
“We deem your divulging, without authority, of confidential information with which you were entrusted and to which you had access by virtue of your office, as misconduct with which we cannot abide, will not encourage and do not condone. It appears from the tenor of the divulgence that it was a calculated effort to bring the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority into disrepute. Further, and or in the alternative, we ground good cause in the fact that your breach is contrary to your Staff Manual and Terms of Employment Article 6 (f) which provides: ‘Employees shall not divulge any confidential information obtained at work during their employment, without the authority of the CEO.’
“Your actions constitute misconduct in relation to your employment which are of such a nature and character that it would be unreasonable to expect the employment relationship to continue,” the letter stated.
Roban was asked to “surrender any and all office related equipment, and or paraphernalia” in his possession “with immediate effect.”
“Please note that no severance is payable where the termination is for good cause.
“Any remuneration for vacation time, if any, and or financial entitlement in lieu of notice. will be provided to you under cover of separate correspondence.
“We take this opportunity to wish you best in your future endeavours,” the letter stated.
Roban in a post on October 4th, said that having written to Prime Minister on September 8th and not having received any communication, he “sent an enquiry via email about 6 days ago and to this date no response.”
Roban is contending that he is entitled to at least a month salary in lieu of notice.
“I received the letter of termination on September 1st, 2021 or immediately at the end of my suspension therefore without notice. Meaning that I should have received a month’s pay in lieu of notice; yet to this date no payment or communication has been received,” he said in a Facebook page.
The national scholar further expressed his feelings in another post: “Country so backward a man can get fired without notice for publishing basic figures (obtainable on the ECCB Connects website) on his Facebook page and not at least receive severance for his 12 years of service! Talk about education revolution or devolution? I feel so sad for my country and fellow Vincentians.”