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‘DON’T CROSS ME!’

‘DON’T CROSS ME!’

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Daniel Cummings, former manager of the Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA), has issued a warning that no one violates his rights and gets away with it.
This warning comes in the wake of his contract not being renewed and his claims that he has not been paid.{{more}}
“Believe you me they don’t want to cross my path! There is a fundamental responsibility to honour what is a basic requirement. Nobody violates me, nobody. I don’t interfere with people, I don’t break the rules, but you don’t cross my path and get away with it so long as I have life,” Cummings warned at a Press conference on Tuesday.
Speaking out for the first time since his contract at the CWSA was not renewed, Cummings questioned what he had done to CWSA Chairman Christian “CIMS” Martin and the Government to warrant the treatment meted out to him.
In a very emotional statement Cummings disclosed that he might have fallen out of favour with the Government for voicing his opinion on the cross country road and more recently the Tobago Cays issues. He also used the opportunity to speak about difficulties he had encountered with the Authority’s Board of Directors, previously headed by banker Kenny Ford, and lately by Martin.
The former General Manager said that on April 19, 2004, he received a letter from Martin stating that his contract at the CWSA had expired and would not be renewed. Cummings said this letter also informed him that his request for leave had been granted and to avoid any misunderstanding he would be paid for the remaining 57 days of which he would be on leave. To this date Cummings claims, he has not yet been paid.
Cummings claims that not renewing his contract this year breached both the gentleman’s agreement and the written one he had made with Cims Martin. He said that in accordance with the contract he signed just over three years ago, there should have been negotiations three months prior to the termination of his contract.
“If, at the end of those three months, the negotiations break down or are not concluded, the old contractual arrangement continues.” said Cummings. He also disclosed that he had entered a contractual agreement with the Government before he
had attained his 50th birthday and in the CWSA employees work until they are 60.
“It was the natural understanding that I would continue to serve the institution.”
Cummings said he cannot see the lawful reasons for his contract not being renewed, since in December 2003 in a meeting with Martin, he had indicated his desire to continue serving the CWSA.
He said back in January Martin asked him to advertise the post of manager. “I said Mr. Chairman, if the Board chooses to advertise the post I will take it to mean that the Board is no longer desirous of continuing to have me as manager, and his response was categorically ‘no that is not the case’.”
“I said have you read my contract sir he said ‘no’. He asked me to send him a copy of my contract, which I did.
“One week later he called me again and said ‘go ahead and advertise the post’. I said to him Mr. Martin, I say to you again, if the Board chooses to advertise the post I will take it to mean that it is no longer desirous of continuing to employ me. He said ‘this government can’t lose you; you have got to continue working for us’.”
Contacted Wednesday by SEARCHLIGHT for a comment on the allegations made against him, Martin stated he would make a statement on the matter soon.
Giving grounds for a change of heart of him being at the helm of the CWSA, Cummings said that since 2002 he had made it quite clear “how Daniel Cummings personally and the CWSA professionally totally opposed the proposed construction of the cross country road.”
Cummings said he had presented a paper to the Prime Minister outlining all of the technical reasons why he believed the cross country road has significant problems for water supplies in the country.
On this issue, Cummings said a consultant was brought in to do an environmental catalogue for the cross country road. According to Cummings, the consultant never discussed “a single note with me as Manager of the Water Authority or with the key staff in the CWSA…yet the consultant chose to use Daniel Cummings’ name as the person consulted”.
The former CWSA manager said he has asked that his name be removed from the document.
Another reason he gave for his supposedly falling out of favour with the “higher authorities” was his involvement with the friends of the Tobago Cays.
Cummings said he is unapologetically opposed to the previous proposed management concept. “From the reaction in that meeting it became very clear to me that that was not considered a wise decision by those who are in authority so that led us to where we are today; that on April 19 I received a letter saying that my contract will not be renewed”.
Cummings said on April 29, 2002 he had quit his job at the CWSA after having problems with the then Chairman (Kenny Forde) and Deputy Chairman of the CWSA but was encouraged to reconsider this decision by the Prime Minister.
“For a period of two weeks I was inundated by a series of telephone calls from the Honourable Prime Minister. Indeed the Prime Minister chose to use targets to get at me. All of my friends, several of my key friends were called asking that they urge me to reconsider; not the least of whom is my dear wife who was
pressured repeatedly
into coercing me to reconsider.
“One may ask why I was brought back to the CWSA two years ago to be treated like a common criminal today by the highest powers in the land with their full knowledge and perhaps coerced,” Cummings questioned.
Using a quotation from J.G. Holland, Cummings ended as he started the Press conference by stating: “God gives us men. A time like this demands strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands.
Men whom the lust of office does not kill, men whom the love of office cannot buy, men who possess opinion and will, men who love honour, men who cannot lie…”
Earlier this year information leaked that Cummings’ contract was coming to an end. When contacted then by SEARCHLIGHT the outspoken Cummings, who over the years has developed an outstanding reputation for his efficiency on the job, declined comment on the matter.
He had confirmed though, that the CWSA was indeed looking for a General Manager – who will be the Chief Executive Officer of the Authority.
CWSA Chairman Martin, on the other hand, when contacted had confirmed the termination of Cummings’ contract. When asked if Cummings’ contract will be renewed he simply responded “we don’t know what will
happen”.

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