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Jun 18, 2020

Four Terminated NICH Workers Respond to the Firings!

Four of the recently laid off employees of NICH are tonight responding to their firings announced on Tuesday of this week. NICH laid off twelve members of staff on the grounds that COVID-19 has wiped out majority of its revenues and despite cost-saving measures, they can’t afford to retain them.  The four employees, Karen Vernon, Suzette Zayden, Theresita Torres and Jackie Castillo, issued a media statement today to give their side of what they describe as a disingenuous reason for the firings.  They say that their termination isn’t because of COVID-19 cost-cutting measures stating, “For an institution founded on the principles of tolerance, respect and mandated to safeguard culture in all its diversity, to treat its employees whom have dedicated over ten years of service so reprehensibly shows little regard for the employees and the culture sector. To then blame, NICH’s current financial mismanagement on COVID-19 is disingenuous, duplicitous and A FARCE.” Their media statement says that it is pure victimization being meted out by President of NICH, Sapna Budhrani, because they have been vocal about Budhrani’s management of the institution.  The release goes onto say that from the day the president took office, despite having no experience in managing a cultural institution; she has operated in an autocratic manner which raised a number of red flags for the then internal auditor.  The letter recalls that Budhrani was suspended by Cabinet under a cloud of suspicion.  But the whistleblower, the then internal auditor, was fired. The letter says that the lack of an adequate system for staff to lodge grievances in a fair way had left them working under constant fear of being victimized if they voice dissent. They call on the minister to “restore proper fiscal management, transparency and due process within the Institution as soon as possible.”

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