Sharda Satram

Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) Project Manager Indar Parasram has blanked a request by state board member Sharda Satram—a former PNM candidate—who had advised Parasram to take certain action on URP employment since she was “reorganising” PNM’s Couva North PNM constituency by party groups.

Parasram, who disassociated URP from Satram’s action, confirmed this yesterday after UNC MP Ravi Ratiram called out the PNM Government on the issue.

Ratiram said the new YTEPP Limited board was installed on August 13 and Satram is a member. He noted she’s the defeated PNM candidate for Couva North from the August 2020 general election.

Ratiram said he received a copy of a letter dated July 25th 2021 purportedly written by Satram to Parasram in which she stated all authorisation letters were to be rescinded immediately. The letter stated that authorisation of all notes or listing presented to the Regional Office for Employment from July 26 will only be signed off by Satram.

Ratiram said Satram’s letter also stated, “This has become necessary as I am in the process of reorganising the constituency by party groups, to ensure that we become a full constituency consisting of 15 or more active party groups…”

Ratiram added, “As T&T’s facing an unemployment crisis caused by this Rowley Government, there’s evidence a failed candidate and constituency coordinator in the person of Satram, is seeking to influence/control the hiring of persons in the URP. Since when can a failed PNM candidate give authorisation to URP on whom to hire? Is URP a state-funded programme for PNM party groups only?”

Accusing Satram of trying to manipulate the system, he called on Parasram to speak on the issue and “disassociate himself from this type of underhanded, politically corrupt behaviour propagated by Satram.”

Indarsingh said Satram doesn’t know where the line is drawn between a political party and state entities, lacks basic corporate governance knowledge to serve as a YTEPP director and should resign or be fired by the Prime Minister, immediately.

Parasram subsequently told Guardian Media that he replied to Satram’s letter dated August 10 stating URP is a state programme and it was for all citizens.

He said she was advised that people can go to their area office and apply for employment and URP could not entertain her request at this time.

Parasram made it clear that no favouritism would be involved in URP since it was for everyone, “We try to cater for all unemployed, regardless of party.”

Satram said Ratiram’s statement on her trying to influence/control URP hiring was “far from the truth. She said she didn’t feel she was doing so. Satram said she was constituency coordinator. Asked if she’d received instructions to reorganise the constituency, she said she’d give a statement, but wasn’t sure when since she was “heading to another meeting now.”

Yesterday, a senior member of the PNM’s Couva North constituency executive said they weren’t in touch with Satram.