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UDC sacks some Dunn’s River staff, transfers others

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The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) has separated some members of staff at Dunn’s River Falls and Park in St Ann from their jobs and transferred others in the wake of the findings of an audit which pointed to possible fraudulent activities at the world-famous tourist attraction.

The UDC says the first set of changes took effect on January 9, and involved staff at the management, supervisory and senior levels.

In a statement on Wednesday, the UDC said the actions have been taken amidst ongoing investigations into the findings of the independent probe.

Among the issues highlighted in the audit are ticket sales, discrepancies in record-keeping, and inefficiencies in information technology systems.

The independent audit was initiated in response to long-standing allegations of fraud and corruption at Dunn’s River and two other tourist attractions managed by St Ann Development Company (SADCo). The findings, which include significant long-term fraud control failures, financial misstatements, insufficient processes and gaps in information technology controls were made public earlier this month.

The Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU), one of the unions which represents workers at the attraction, had called for immediate steps to be taken to restore the reputation of the staff.

“The organisational changes made are in line with the UDC’s human resource policies, which allows for appropriate reassignment during the due diligence and review process, where necessary,” the corporation said, noting that further changes are to come in the upcoming days and weeks as it continues to “assess and remedy the inefficiencies identified by the independent external audit commissioned last year by the UDC”.

Furthermore, the corporation noted that its board and that of SADCo’s have made major organisational changes to the human resource structure at Dunn’s River Falls and Park.

Senator Ransford Braham, the UDC chairman, said the corporation is asking the staff for continued understanding of its position. “It is not our intention to interfere with the functions or reputations of those who have adhered to the law and the policies in place at the Park,” he stated.

The UDC said it recently appointed independent Programme Management Office to oversee the process to drive sustainable change at the attraction and other SADCo-managed entities where issues have been identified.

The corporation said it would continue to communicate with the staff at Dunn’s River Falls and Park and maintain dialogue with the BITU and the Union of Clerical Administrative and Supervisory Employees, the other union representing workers.

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