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Friday, Dec 01, 2023

Unheeded calls! Trade Director to resign over low staff levels, SFC told

Unheeded calls! Trade Director to resign over low staff levels, SFC told

The Department of Trade, Investment Promotion and Consumer Affairs has been described as being in a dire state.
The Department’s Director, Karia Christopher told lawmakers during the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) hearings recently that after years of pleading for staff members, she was forced to submit her resignation as a result of the poor response.

According to Christopher, after starting her tenure at the department with some 24 employees, there were now only six staff members working on most days, despite a current complement of eight workers.

She partially attributed the low staff turnout at the office to the presence of mould in the building, which she said has been documented and reported over the years.

Christopher told the SFC that she has issued a little more than 40 letters and emails regarding staffing issues in her department and explained that a number of technical posts remain unfilled, including a critical role for Business Development and Promotion Activities.

The Director reportedly expressed ‘grave frustration’ over the issue and indicated that after three plus years of firm documentation, begging and pleading for staff without any assistance, it made her ‘look bad’ as the Director.

She further told lawmakers that most persons are aware that she is very ill and said this level of stress was not helpful.

The SFC was told that the department has been gradually losing staff over the past four years and that the office was even closed for two and a half weeks recently because there was no one physically in the office.

Christopher explained that even though she was expected to receive staff since January 2022, no new staff have been assigned to her department to date.

Junior Minister for Trade, Shereen Flax-Charles commented that it should not take six months or a year to get someone employed.

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