SIPA staff to fight other outstanding issues

CEO of SIPA Mr Eranda Kotelawala.
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By Alfred Sasako

EMPLOYEES of Solomon Islands Ports Authority say payment of special bonuses this week will not deter them from pursuing other important outstanding issues, including the re-alignment of staff salaries.

Insiders told Island Sun yesterday the push to include all staff in the special bonus payout has brought to the fore a plethora of issues that has the potential to bring down SIPA if left unattended.

“SIPA is already coming apart at the seams. The onus is on the management and the Board to resolve the outstanding issues,” one insider warned.

“A lot of things have gone wrong and unless the Management and the SIPA Board work together to resolve these issues, SIPA is on the way down,” the insider said.

“And these are issues which have been on the table since the new Chief Executive Officer arrived in this country to oversee SIPA’s operations,” he said.

The insider pointed to the purchase earlier this year of a brand new vehicle for the Secretary of SIPA Board, Charles Ashley.

“In-house procurement process was never followed in the acquisition of the vehicle at all,” the insider said.

The insider said staff are also very concerned about the number of overseas trips undertaken by the CEO and Board members since they took over the rein from Singaporean Colin Yow.

“Mr Kotelawala is the most travelled CEO SIPA has ever engaged,” the insider said.

“As staff, we want to know why because so far we have not seen any tangible evidence that those overseas trips were in the best interest of SIPA,” he said.

The insider said another matter of concern to the entire staff is whether anything would come out from the Commission of Inquiry which the government ordered after former CEO, Colin Yow was sacked in April last year.

“It is important that recommendations in the Report be actioned so that what was happening during Mr Yow’s tenure does not re-appear,” he said.

“We are also demanding that:

  • Outstanding payments in entitlements owed to staff members who were reinstated after their illegal sacking be dealt with immediately;
  • Temporary staff hired by Colin Yow be addressed;
  • The outstanding case involving the removal of Mr Barile as CEO be also addressed given that other staff members have been reinstated, he is not. If he is no longer with SIPA, why is he still occupying a SIPA house?
  • Management releases the Commission of Inquiry Report immediately; and
  • The Audit Report of the organisation’s financial situation over the last six years be made available to staff.