A number of inaccuracies appeared in the Daily Nation of November 1, 2018, pages 4 to 5, captioned CEO in the Dark. The Board of Directors of the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) feels compelled to respond to make the public aware of some of the facts leading to its restructuring/retrenchment programme.
At a Board meeting on August 28, 2018, Mr. Shawn Tudor, CEO, was alerted to the Board’s desire for the BADMC to be leaner and fitter, and more fit for purpose. On October 9, at a meeting of the Establishments Committee of the Board, Mr. Tudor undertook to hold a meeting with the senior management team to discuss a retrenchment programme, and submit the proposal to the Board on October 15. The meeting was convened on Sunday, October 14.
On October 12, Mr. Tudor attended a meeting of the Audit & Finance Committee to discuss the BADMC’s finances and a plan to reduce expenditure. It was stated at that meeting that the BADMC had to reduce expenditure by $600,000 by December 31, 2018.
It was agreed that in order for the BADMC to achieve any meaningful reduction in expenditure, the wages and salaries which amounted to $650,000 per month net of statutory deductions had to be reduced. At that meeting we learnt of the Government of Barbados’s decision to discontinue the overdraft facility the BADMC had with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), thus further constraining the BADMC in managing its operations.
The Corporation’s restructuring/retrenchment programme was premised on the following:
- 80 employees (40%) out of 199 employed since 2015, resulting in an unsustainable wages and salaries bill.
- Wages and salary cost of $650,000 per month, net of statutory payments.
- Grants from the Agricultural Development Fund (ADF) ended on September 30, 2018.
- A distinct likelihood of the reduction of subvention from January 2019.
- Discontinuation of the overdraft facility with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).
- Losses in the Farm Stores of $127,791.20 for the first nine months of 2018.
- Agribusiness Division sales for the first nine months $1,248 million. Wages and salaries of $1,197 million for the Division. When other overheads are considered, the total expenses were $2,163 million, giving a loss $914,975.
- Administration costs (Accounts, Executive Office, Human Resources, Maintenance, Security) of approximately $4.4 million for the first nine months.
- The Cold Storage Department, the main income earner of the BADMC, is without a generator for which current estimate of purchase is less than $100,000.
- Payables of $687,841 to key overseas suppliers of cold storage items which are the main source of income for the BADMC.
- Need to address the inefficiencies which exist within BADMC’s operations.
Consultation was held with the NUPW on October 9, 2018, to advise of the restructuring programme, and there was follow-up dialogue. Our retrenchment programme is based almost exclusively on the Last In First Out (LIFO) principle.
Mr. Anthony Wood, Chairman, met with employees of the BADMC on October 26, 2018, and informed them about the imminent retrenchment programme. We formally advised the Chief Labour Officer and the National Union of Public Workers of our intention to terminate the services of 60 employees.