In a new twist to the Solomon Islands National University Vice-Chancellor saga, the Minister of Labour Clazy Rore has rejected the SINU Council’s appeal to renew the work permit of the VC, Dr. Ganeshwar Chand. Rore instead stood by the decision of his Commissioner of Labour and rejected the VC’s work permit today, with four other expatriates. This means by this afternoon, the VC had no permit to work with at SINU.
Minister Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration Rore this afternoon written to SINU, clearly stating his refusal to renew the VC’s work permit.
In his letter, which SBMOnline has a copy, Rore states that he stands by the Commissioner of Labour’s decision to reject work permit applications for the VC and four others.
The employment of expatriate staff with SINU was brought to light after it was discovered that the university’s records and Labour files did not show that the staff, including the VC, had work permits for their employment with SINU.
The Director of Immigration had also confirmed that no gazette had been formalized to exempt the concerned staff from the requirements for work permits as such their employment with SINU was illegal. SBMOnline understands that only the minister can grant an exemption through a notice in the Gazette and never the Director of Immigration. This magazine understands that the Minister was not granting any exemptions for the VC and the other four members.
SBMonline further understands that some of the positions occupied at SINUshould be given to locals and not expats.
Meanwhile SBMOnline was also told that a residence permit can only be granted if a work permit has been granted. Without a work permit, no foreigner can secure a resident permit, this means the VC’s employment with SINU was effectively over when the letter was given to the university by the minister this afternoon.
When contacted tonight, the media person for the university said he has yet to resume work but assured this magazine that he would seek their side of story with the acting vice chancellor.
The SINU saga started in the middle of the year when the university’s union had served a seven-day strike notice on the VC – alleging he had been unfair in recruiting expatriates for jobs that should given to locals and further alleged the VC was unfair in choosing printing suppliers for SINU.
The dispute went as far as the Trade Disputes Panel. SINU Council had challenged the TDP’s ruling especially on the matter regarding the employment of the VC with the university.