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Jobs gone

Maria Bradshaw

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AFTER investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in training Barbadians for the medical transcription field, Government may have to return to the drawing board and review its much touted programme, earmarked to earn over $20 million in foreign exchange annually.That’s because of the sudden closure of one of only two such players in the sector in Barbados, Transcription Relief Services (TSRi), which has put 24 people on the breadline.The majority of those trained were hired by TSRi which also operated a company in Guyana.Last year Prime Minister David Thompson said the industry was well worth the training while Minister of State D’arcy Boyce projected foreign exchange earnings in excess of $21 million and corporate taxes in the amount of $3.9 million.Some of the shocked employees told the SUNDAY SUN that president of the company, Robert Harvey, flew into Barbados last Monday unannounced, held a brief meeting with them at the Harbour Road office in Bridgetown, and informed them it was their last day of work.“He told us that because of a lack of funding and that Government was unwilling to provide finance to the company, he was unable to continue operating the business here,” an employee explained.The employee said they had no prior indication that the business was about to close, but pointed out that the American manager located in Barbados was fired two weeks ago, and twoBarbadian supervisors were put in charge.When contacted, Ann Meadows, business development officer at Invest Barbados – overseers of the programme – said they were not aware that TSRi, a United States-based company, had closed its operations here.“Mr Harvey said he would close the company because he was having financial difficulties, but he did not give us a date, Meadows stated.Asked what would happen to the employees, she said: “In another three months something will happen. We are working to get the people who have gone through the training employed. So all hope is not lost.”She added they would be exploring if some of the dismissed workers could be absorbed by the only other company involved in medical transcription – ACR Business Solutions.TSRi has been in Barbados for less than two years. Government paid for and provided the training which usually lasted a year, and was conducted by officials of TSRi. Last year TSRi lost the majority of its 80-plus staff members when controversy brewed.Staff complained at that time that the company made several changes to their job descriptions which were not beneficial to them. SUNDAY SUN investigations revealed that another company – Transcend Services Inc. – signed a US$4.5 million deal last year to buy the domestic medical transcription business of Transcription Relief Services.It is understood that Transcend and TSRi are now involved in a legal matter.