I know that employers have a right to employ individuals who they feel are the right fit for their organization and who they think can transform and exceed the objectives of the company. However, when it is clear that qualified locals are rejected for a post, I have a problem with that and therefore I am speaking out against this latest announcement.
In 1898, (the year my grandmother Antoinette Malcolm – Smith was born), Cable & Wireless came to the Turks and Caicos Islands and provided solutions to our communication needs locally and internationally. The company not only provided telephony services but also radio and news services. Cable & Wireless was one of the few employers in TCI and so working at Cable & Wireless was the ultimate dream for many persons.
In 2006, one hundred and eight years later, Cable & Wireless appointed for the first time, a local to the post of Chief Executive Office in its Turks and Caicos Branch which was yours truly. Here we are in 2019, Cable & Wireless made an announcement that they have recruited someone from another Caribbean island to be the country manager. This is an insult not only to the local applicants that applied but to the entire Turks and Caicos population. Is this the legacy we should accept from the oldest established company in TCI?
The Local Candidates were Qualified
It is my understanding that four locally qualified candidates applied for the role. Having worked for the company for 14 years, and being in the role of Chief Executive for seven (7) years, I know the requirements of the role very well. I also know three of the individuals very well and based on my knowledge of these individuals, they are more than capable of being Country manager. In fact, the role and function of the Country Manager have diminished since I was the Chief Executive and hence the change of name to Country Manager.
No matter who the country manager is, the country manager will have a challenge trying to claw back the majority of residential customers with more than half of the population being Haitians and the fact that the competition is present in Haiti. For the business customers, C&W will have to compete more effectively to meet the needs of the business.
I am not against the individual that was awarded the position, I am against the fact this company has overlooked the local candidates but yet expect the employees to be loyal and committed knowing that they are being overlooked for promotions from within the company.
I would not have a problem with the selection if no qualified locals applied but when experienced and qualified locals applied for the job, they must be given first preference.
It pains me to see so many companies and individuals in TCI overlooking qualified locals. I am further frustrated when companies and individuals judged locals based on the behavior of other locals. No wonder why so many of us are leaving TCI to go the UK and US because we feel like “foreigners” in our own country.
When I became the CEO in 2006, Cable & Wireless knew well in advance from both PDM and PNP Governments respectively that a work permit will no longer be issued to an expat to become the CEO. Therefore the position was not advertised regionally at that time because two qualified locals showed interest and submitted their applications to become CEO. This is 2019, so why are they reverting to way things were done prior to 2006. You have been here for 121 years and to date only two locals headed the company. This is a shameful act by Cable & Wireless and should not be accepted by the Labour Department and the Immigration Board.