Amidst rumors of early retirement packages being given as an option for National Sports Council (NSC) workers, Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, has expressed surprise about the recent revelation, stating that in any event such action cannot be taken without going through established protocols.

While addressing the unfounded claims of early retirement, the Minister sought to clarify comments recently printed in the media.

???There has been no mandate given to anyone to talk to staff at the NSC about early retirement packages. Whatever rumour has been spread was just that, a rumour,??? he declared, noting that such a move would have to be first discussed with the union and approved at the Ministerial level and ultimately by Cabinet.

Seeking to ???calm nerves??? Minister Lashley explained that Government is interested in introducing initiatives to manage the cost of statutory corporations, the NSC being no exception.

According to the Minister, discussions have been ongoing to examine the integration of the NSC, the Wildey Gymnasium and Kensington Oval Management Inc., in furtherance of a decision of the Cabinet.

???Now that has been the subject of discussion at the level of the various committees of the various boards???their responsibility is to put together a plan that would speak to the integration and possible merger of all three entities??? My understanding is that a draft plan has already been prepared, but then the next stage, of course, is to have discussions and various consultations,??? the Minister explained, adding that the plan has not yet reached his office for review.

Stressing that the proposed integration was still at an early stage of discussion, the Minister urged employees not to panic.?????It is too early to start talking about whether it will mean that people are going to go home. It has not reached that stage,??? he emphasised, adding that even after the integration plan has been completed, there were still several steps to be gone through before any action could be taken.

???As soon as there is a full proposal to be discussed in relation to the integration, then management will discuss with the union and the staff as to how that is proposed to be worked out??? We will follow all established protocols in relation to the relevant unions and staff to ensure that everybody is made aware as to what is being proposed. The staff at the Sports Council can focus on their work and know that dialogue will be done to ensure that they are brought into the know as to what that plan entails,??? Mr. Lashley stated.

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