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NEMO head asks for employee letter probe

NEMO head asks for employee letter probe


Director of the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) Howie Prince has asked the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security to evaluate a letter that NEMO staff member Otto Sam wrote, which was published in two of the nation’s newspapers.{{more}}

Prince, in a July 27 memorandum, said that a version of the article, captioned “NEMO – an interesting organization”, was published in Searchlight on July 24 and The News on July 20.

He further said that a version of the article was left on his desk a few weeks earlier and “was purported to have been sent to all the weekly newspapers for publication”.

Prince discussed with Sam between July 11 and 12 the publication of the article, the memo said.

“I explained that such an article could only serve to bring the organisation into disrepute. Mr. Sam said he respects my opinion, but reserves his right to take certain actions,” Prince told the security ministry official in the memo.

Prince further said an article by an unnamed author in The News on July 27 “confirmed my fears about bringing the organisation into disrepute.”

The letter writer said that the issues Sam raised were “serious and for the institution that watches for the nation’s safety, an enquiry is recommended.”

Prince requested that the permanent secretary forward the articles to the Chief Personnel Officer and the Attorney General “for evaluation” of Sam’s actions.

In the July 24 letter published by Searchlight, Sam said he found NEMO “the most interesting” among the organisations he has worked for over the past 30 years.

“For a national institution with such an important mandate (Disaster management), my observations at NEMO make me laugh,” Sam said.

He said the staff has not met since September 2011 “and even the commencement of the Hurricane season has not motivated management to meet with staff on ‘How do we do it this year?’”

He further said, among other things, that NEMO has one person who has formal training in disaster management, but there “appears to be no real plans to build the organization’s capacity in Disaster Management/Disaster Risk Reduction/DRR, except for attending a few in-house sessions.”

Sam, in a July 30 response to Prince’s memorandum, said all the issues he raised in his article were raised in-house and the acting director “refused to listen or amend her ways or give a hearing to the issues” and Prince did not “facilitate internal dialogue”.

“I challenge you as Director, or [Michelle] Forbes as Director (Ag) then, and Deputy Director to deny any of the fact and truth printed in the press after refusal by Management to listen, and amend its ways,” Sam further wrote.

Sam said that Prince’s seeking an evaluation of the article “fortifies the caption of my piece ‘NEMO – an interesting organisation’.

His letter also details alleged events at NEMO to support his case. (KXC)