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Dindyal remained GPL CEO after Board said he should go; performance evaluation rated 43.5 out of 50%

Former GPL CEO, Bharrat Dindial and then Board Chairman, Winston Brassington. (Stabroek News photo)

Former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL)  Bharrat Dindyal’s contract of employment was renewed after it expired on December 31, 2014 because the agency’s Board of Directors, through its Chairman Winston Brassington, in a “candid” revelation expressed their  disatisfaction with the CEO’s performance.

Dindyal’s was however kept on the job despite an uninspiring performance evaluation by the Board, on the request of then Prime Minister Samuel Hinds who had responsibility for energy.

According to evaluation documents that were sent to the former Prime Minister and seen by Demerara Waves, Dindyal managed to garner 43.5 out of 100 percent. A breakdown shows that he got 21 out of 50 percent in the area of operational direction, business performance and planning; 9.5 out of 15 percent for financial management; 7 out of 20 percent for management and human resource development and 6 out 15 percent for governance and reporting.

The overall assessment indicated that the former CEO lacked the managerial skills; to pool his materials; staff, finances, planning etc. to get the job done.

The 29-page report said that the CEO lacked respect for the Board and regularly undermines their role. They said he had poor management style and that the company was making more headway when services are outsourced.

A five-point review on his relationship with the board said that, “The CEO has frequently treated the Board with disrespect… failing to propose policies for the Board’s approval, refusing to carry out instructions or decisions of the Board and instructing management to ignore board decisions. He failed to submit regular reports to the board, telling them they have no competence (being mostly non-engineers).

They spoke of his poor management skill, and ad-hoc style of doing things before presenting a table showing that when work is outsourced, it is generally on time and on budget, while the company’s service is “generally delayed with huge overruns due to the lack of planning and lack of project management.”

The board said, “Despite substantial investments, there continues to be a significant level of blackouts. GPL mostly failed to achieve its technical targets for blackouts.” “GPL has failed to adopt international best practice in terms of technical operations (despite this being the standard set out in GPL’s license).”

The board mentioned that not limited to the 10 projects listed, “GPL has engaged in many projects most of which have lacked proper project plans.” The board continued that the company lacked focus on customer service.

In the evaluation which spoke to Dindyal’s contractual obligations to ensure the company’s statutory legal and regulatory obligations and develop action plan to remedy operational shortcomings, among others, the CEO only got 21 percent on the 50 percent scale.

Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson had spoken about this document in the House of Assembly a day earlier for the purpose of “setting the record straight.” He was replying to opposition outcries of “ethnic cleansing,” as they made specific reference to the firing of the CEO as an example. Patterson said since December last year, Dindyal had been working without an employment contract.

In the letter from the board, the former Prime Minister was told that they were willing to meet with him to further discuss the CEO’s performance. The evaluation showed that Dindyal had little management skills, but he was more an operational and technical person.

In a letter dated November 27, 2014 requesting the renewal of his three-year contract, long after the required six-month expression of interest, Dindyal had also asked GPL to increase his already hefty salary by GUY$1,500.

Three years after having been appointed Chief Operating Officer, Dindyal was elevated to CEO in 2006 when Robin Singh departed.

On August 14, 2015, Dindyal was sent home immediately after a video surfaced on a private television newscast and on social media showing him and his Deputy CEO, Colin Welch in a boisterous altercation. That had stemmed over Welch’s suspension of several managers as part of a probe. Dindyal had charged that his number two had no authority to do so and ordered that they return to work immediately.