Sat | Jul 21, 2018

CAL defends hiring practices amid background security checks criticism

Published:Wednesday | July 4, 2018 | 3:39 PM
Chairman of the Joint Select Committee on State Enterprises, David Small (right) and Committee member Wade Mark at a press briefing at Parliament Building - CMC photo

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, 2018 – The state-owned Caribbean Airlines (CAL) has come under fire from the Joint Select Committee on State Enterprises in Trinidad's Parliament for failing to conduct background security checks on all senior managers before hiring them.

But, management of Trinidad and Tobago’s flag carrier on Wednesday insisted that it does engage in proper security checks of prospective employees, in keeping with the company’s normal employment requirements.

At a press conference on Tuesday, the committee members took CAL to task for breaching its recruitment policy and recommended that the airline restart the process for all positions which were filled without conducting background security checks on applicants.

CAL’s Chief Executive Officer Garvin Medera was also accused by committee member Wade Mark of violating company policy.

“You cannot, in 2018, ignore security in a world where we have experienced acts of terrorism. And for a company CEO to do so, it is the height of reckless conduct and behaviour,” Mark said.

Another committee member Fazal Karim recommended that CAL should indicate to the committee who are the employees or what positions in which background checks are still pending, and whether they are on the job. Because we would not like to think that if anything happens untoward on the compound or in the air, that we will lament this may have been one of the opportunities caused as a result of not doing or not having these background checks”.

But, in its statement, CAL said all worker are subject to security checks before being hired.

"Caribbean Airlines adheres to a rigorous system of checks and balances and has complied with its own internal policy on security checks. The nature and conduct of the security check policy is administered by the Security Department in Operations and Human Resources, which will liaise with security to ensure that due process has been followed,” it said.

“Security checks are carried out as per the company’s normal employment requirements, including but not limited to, reference checks and certificate verification. In addition, the company also requires police verified certificates of good character and applies other internal and external security checks,” CAL said.

It added,“More intensive security checks are only conducted for support staff who are required to access the airport, aircraft or airside facilities or as other regulations may require. Further security checks are also done for pilots and flight attendants to meet Federal Aviation Administration and other airport regulations. Successfully completing required security checks is a condition of the Caribbean Airlines’ employment agreement.”

The airline further said that staff who do not require airport or airside access in the course of their duties go through the normal employment vetting process.

CAL assured that the airline is committed to meeting and maintaining high standards of safety and security.

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