In This Section

SWMCOL Whistleblower Policy


The Trinidad and Tobago Solid Waste Management Company Limited (hereafter SWMCOL) recognises the importance of harnessing a culture where employees, management, the board of directors, contractors, customers, as well as the public can feel comfortable reporting wrongdoing that may occur within SWMCOL and thus reduce the likelihood of fraud, regulatory action against our company or damage to our corporate reputation.

SWMCOL accepts there is always a risk of wrongdoing and whistle blowers provide a vital early warning system. Generally, the first people to realize or suspect wrongdoing are the people who work in or with the company. This policy is designed cognizant of the need to facilitate the whistleblower who may be fearful of reprisal. It also seeks to provide assurance that all disclosures of improper conduct are to be treated with the strictest of confidence and objectively investigated in a prompt manner to allow for the detection of misconduct at an early stage.

Policy Statement 

SWMCOL is committed to combatting corruption and other wrongdoings in the company by encouraging and facilitating disclosures of improper conduct, protection of persons making those disclosures from detrimental action, the safeguarding of information received from whistleblowers and investigating and otherwise dealing with improper conduct.

All employees, management, contractors, and the public are encouraged to disclose misconduct or suspected misconduct by the company’s employees, management and or board of directors, without fear of reprisal within the organisation to a whistleblowing reporting officer/internal auditor or externally to a designated authority. Such disclosure may include but not limited to evidence of abuse of authority, fraud, sexual harassment, discrimination or harassment, improper accounting, failure to comply with laws or statutory requirements or actions endangering health, safety, and the environment and harm to the reputation or economic interest of SWMCOL. 

SWMCOL encourages persons making disclosures to reveal their identity so that they can be protected, and feedback can be provided. Nevertheless, SWMCOL shall investigate anonymous disclosures. 

SWMCOL shall discipline any employee or manager who takes or orders any adverse personnel and/or economic action as retaliation against a whistleblower. At the same time SWMCOL discourages malicious or reckless disclosure of information that a whistleblower knows, or ought to have known, is false.

SWMCOL shall ensure all information disclosed under this policy is treated with utmost confidentiality. In particular, the identify of whistleblowers shall not be revealed without their prior written consent, to employees or other persons not involved in the case, to the police, or to professionals retained by the company for the purpose of completing the investigation on matters arising from it, except where the company is under a legal obligation to do so, or the information is already in the public domain.

SWMCOL shall adopt this policy and ensure compliance with any applicable Whistleblowing protection laws, SWMCOL’s Human Resources Policy Manual and or the establishment of procedures for the reporting of wrongdoing, providing feedback on any action taken, hearing, investigating, and deciding on complaints of reprisal made by whistleblowers who acted in accord with this policy. 


The purpose of the Whistleblower Policy is to encourage employees and other parties associated with the company to report any wrongdoing if they reasonably believe someone has engaged in such behaviour and to provide protection to those persons who make such a report so they may do so confidentially and without fear of intimidation, detrimental action, or reprisal.


This policy applies to employees, management, board of directors, contractors, customers and other third parties associated with SWMCOL. 

Definition of the terms used

i.    “Adverse personnel action” for the purpose of this policy, includes action against a whistleblower such as disciplinary suspension, a termination of employment, an involuntary demotion, rejection during probation, an unsupported “unsatisfactory” performance evaluation, a decision not to promote or to hire, a decision not to grant a salary increase, an involuntary reassignment to a position of lower status and responsibility than that previously held or unfavourable change in terms and conditions of employment or action that leads to an involuntary resignation or involuntary retirement of a whistleblower. 

ii.    “Adverse economic action” for the purpose of this policy refers to any action or omission intended to negatively affect the business/relationship of contractors, consultants, customers and other third parties, with SWMCOL, where such actions cannot be supported by evidence from competitive situations or by objective performance evaluations. 

iii.    “Designated authority” which is defined as an office or body recognised by the laws of The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago as an authority to receive a whistleblower report and investigate “improper conduct”. These bodies may include:
   a.    Auditor General’s Department; 
   b.    Board of Inland Revenue; 
   c.    Bureau of Standards of Trinidad and Tobago; 
   d.    Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago; 
   e.    Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago; 
   f.    Customs and Excise Division; 
   g.    Elections and Boundaries Commission; 
   h.    Environmental Management Authority; 
   i.    Equal Opportunity Commission;
   j.    Fair Trading Commission;
   k.    Financial Intelligence Unit of Trinidad and Tobago;
   l.    Integrity Commission of Trinidad and Tobago;
   m.    National Physical Planning Authority of Trinidad and Tobago;
   n.    Occupational Safety and Health Agency;
   o.    Occupational Safety and Health Authority;
   p.    Office of Procurement Regulation;
   q.    Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions;
   r.    Office of the Ombudsman of Trinidad and Tobago;
   s.    Regulated Industries Commission;
   t.    Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and
   u.    Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission

iv.    “Detrimental action” means any act or omission that results in a person being –
   a.    unfairly subject to disciplinary action.
   b.    unfairly dismissed, suspended, or demoted.
   c.    harassed, intimidated, or victimized.
   d.    transferred or seconded against his will.
   e.    unfairly refused transfer or promotion.
   f.    subject to a term or condition of employment or retirement from employment, that is altered to his disadvantage.
   g.    provided with an adverse reference or refused a reference.
   h.    unfairly denied appointment to any employment, profession, or office.
   i.    threatened with any of the actions specified in paragraphs (a) to (h).
   j.    otherwise adversely affected in respect of his employment, profession, office (including employment opportunities and job security); or
   k.    otherwise suffering injury, loss, or damage in relation to his employment, family life, career, profession, trade, or business.

v.    “Disclosure” means disclosure by a person of information which shows or potentially shows that improper conduct has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur.

vi.    “Fraud” as defined in SWMCOL’s Fraud Policy. 

vii.    “Improper conduct” means any –
   a.    criminal offence.
   b.    failure to carry out a legal obligation or comply with the company’s policies.
   c.    conduct that is likely to threaten the health or safety of a person.
   d.    conduct that is likely to threaten or damage the environment.
   e.    conduct that shows gross mismanagement, impropriety, or misconduct in the carrying out of any activity that involves the use of public funds.
   f.    act of reprisal against, or victimization of, a whistleblower or person related to, or associated with a whistleblower.
   g.    conduct that tends to show unfair discrimination on a basis of gender, race, place of origin, social class, colour, religion, or political opinion; or
   h.    wilful concealment of any act described in paragraphs (a) to (g).

viii.    “Reprisal” refers to any adverse personnel or economic action taken against a whistleblower because of disclosure or suspected disclosures made under this policy/procedure.

ix.    “Whistleblower” means any person who makes a disclosure to the Internal Auditor or any other authorized persons within SWMCOL or a “designate authority”. 


Roles and Responsibilities 

The Audit Committee of the Board
The Audit Committee is responsible for ensuring appropriate rigor and due diligence in the development or revision of this policy and related procedures. The Audit Committee shall monitor the effectiveness of the policy and coordinate periodic reviews. 

The Audit Committee will also be responsible for monitoring the decisions and effectiveness of the Complaints Review Committee and advising/making recommendations to the Board of Directors accordingly. 

The Complaints Review Committee
A Complaints Review Committee shall be established to decide upon complaints of detrimental or adverse personnel or economic action allegedly against a whistleblower. The committee shall consist of the Corporate Secretary, Human Resource Manager, and the General Manager, Finance and Corporate Services. The Corporate Secretary shall be Chairman of the Committee. The Committee shall meet upon ten (10) days of receipt of written complaint of reprisal because of activities covered by the whistleblowing policy.

Where the complaint of detrimental or adverse personnel or economic action is brought against any member of the Executive Leadership Team and/or Complaints Review Committee, the Complaint Review Committee shall be comprised of the Chair of the Human Resource Committee of the Board and two directors appointed by the Audit Committee/the Board.

Where the complaint of detrimental or adverse personnel or economic action is brought against any member of the Board of Directors, the complaint shall be referred to Corporation Sole. 

The Complaint Review Committee shall meet as required and shall have the authority needed to conduct its business. These authorities will include the right to initiate investigations, call witnesses and request information. The decisions of this Committee can be reviewed and amended by the Board of Directors.

Whistle Blowing Reporting Officer: The Internal Audit Department/Internal Auditor
The Internal Audit Department has primary responsibility for the investigation of all suspected improper conduct as defined in this policy and applicable Whistleblower laws. Members of the Internal Audit Department or other authorized investigators will have free and unrestricted access to all relevant Company records and assets, whether owned or rented. They will also have the authority to examine, copy and/or remove all documents and files should these be within the scope of their investigation. The Internal Auditor will also draw upon the resources of the Security and Legal Units, as needed, to ensure the completeness and integrity of the investigation. It is the duty of the Internal Auditor to keep management and the Audit Committee informed as to irregularities, in the absence of an Audit Committee or Board of Directors, the Internal Auditor must inform Corporation Sole.

The Internal Audit Department is also responsible for recording and acknowledging receipt of all disclosures and regularly keeping the whistleblower informed on progress of the investigation and on the ultimate disposition of the matter. 

The Internal Audit Department shall exercise their discretion in investigating concerns expressed anonymously. In exercising this discretion, the seriousness of the issue raised, the credibility of evidence or assertions provided and the likelihood of confirming the allegations from attributable sources will be considered. In any case all disclosures must be recorded and reasons why a matter is not investigated should be stated and recorded. 

Where the Internal Auditor considers that the whistleblowing complaint can be better addressed by another authority or entity, the Internal Auditor may, with the consent of the Audit Committee, refer the matter to the appropriate designated authority. 

The Internal Audit Department must also provide a copy of the completed investigation report to Corporation Sole where fraud or improper conduct was detected. 

The Security Unit 
The Security Unit will lead investigations in such matters as threats or acts of violence/terrorism and vandalism targeted at a whistleblower. The Unit will also be responsible for partnering with the Police if it deems a threat highly probable on a whistle-blower. 

The Legal Unit 
A Legal Unit, in consultation with Internal Auditor, has responsibility for referral of any matter to the appropriate designated authority and primary responsibility for managing any litigation that may arise from the investigation. The Unit may also be called upon to review disciplinary actions prior to implementation.

The Human Resource Unit
A Human Resource Unit will assist management in the implementation and completion of disciplinary actions to ensure compliance with relevant policies, procedures, and best practices. The Unit shall ensure that SWMCOL’s employees, management, board and collective bargaining unit(s) are aware of this policy and related procedures.

The Communications Unit 
A Communications Unit has principal responsibility for managing public enquiries and media releases. This will be done after consultation with the Legal Department, Human Resources Unit, and Internal Audit and in accordance with other relevant Company’s policies. The Unit shall also be responsible for ensuring that this policy is published on SWMCOL’s social media platforms.

The Information Technology (IT) Unit
The IT Unit shall create a secured email address ( )  to receive disclosures. The email address must be only accessible to Internal Auditor and any suspected breaches must be reported immediately to the Internal Auditor. 
The IT Unit must also conduct routine monthly quality assurance checks to determine if attempts were made or unauthorized access was made to the email address and furnish a copy of such reports to Internal Auditor.

The management has responsibility to:
i.      Ensure that all employees, contractors, and customers are made aware of this policy.
ii.     Engender a culture of openness and transparency.
iii.    Take seriously concerns which have been reported.
iv.     Record and refer complaints of reprisal and disclosures raised under this policy to the relevant party(s) for investigation. 
v.      Treat all complaints of reprisal and disclosures with the strictest of confidentiality.
vi.    Avoid detrimental action, adverse personnel, and economic action against a whistleblower. 

All employees must also take all practical steps to:
i.     Maintain the highest ethical standards in their activities and operations.
ii.    Report suspected fraud, corruption, or related improper conduct to the internal auditor and or designated authority.

iii.    Assist with the prevention and detection of such activities.
iv.    Support and protect any individual who seeks, in good faith, to report suspected fraud, corruption or related improper conduct. 
v.     Ensure they gain an adequate understanding of how to detect and report improper conduct and detrimental action.

Customers, Contractors and Members of the Public 
i.    Report any knowledge of wrongdoing or improper conduct in accordance with the procedures and guidelines outlined in this policy. 


Making a Disclosure - Open Disclosure

A whistleblower willing to make an open disclosure can utilize the following approved methods:
1.    Raise the concerns with an immediate supervisor or head of department. This whistleblower ought to consider the seriousness or sensitivity of the matter and who is thought to be involved in the malpractice before utilizing this method. The immediate supervisor or head of department must record the disclosure and submit same to the Internal Auditor for investigation. 
2.    Report the matter directly to the company’s Internal Auditor. This is the preferred method and a person making a disclosure under this method should:
   a.    Advise whether he/she has a personal interest in the matter. 
  b.    Make the disclosure immediately or within a period of three (3) months of suspecting or obtaining information about the improper conduct. SWMCOL encourages as soon as practical disclosure since it is critical to secure evidence and minimize risk. 
   c.    Complete the “Suspected Improper Conduct Report Form.” - (Online fillable version of form here)
   d.    Know that he/she can bring a representative from a trade union or a legal professional. 


Making a Disclosure – Anonymously or to Designated Authority

A whistleblower willing to make an anonymous disclosure or a disclosure to the designate authority can utilize the following approved methods:
1. Call the Internal Auditor by telephone. A person can choose to speak to the Internal Auditor without giving a name or call after working hours and leave a recorded message with sufficient information so that the matter can be pursued. 
2. Send an unsigned letter or a note by sealed mail or via email to the Internal Auditor at
3. Send an email, unsigned letter, or a note by sealed mail to the designated authority. Unless the Internal Auditor is suspected of being compromised, SWMCOL encourages a copy of the disclosure be provided to the Internal Auditor for purposes of initiating the applicable investigation as well as assisting the designated authority. 


Responding to Whistleblower Disclosures  

SWMCOL’s action will depend on the nature of the concern and may range from an investigation, a report to the designated authority and/or immediate operational action to preclude a situation that may be detrimental to life, limb, or property. Where possible, to protect those accused of wrongdoing, initial inquiries will be discreetly made to determine whether an investigation is warranted. 

Within three (3) weeks of a concern being raised openly, and where the whistleblower has left a contact number or address, feedback should be provided. The feedback should acknowledge that a concern has been raised, how the matter will be dealt with, whether any initial inquiries have taken place or the reason no further investigation will take place. Subsequent feedback between the whistleblower and the investigators will depend on the nature of the matter raised and the clarity of the information provided. The whistleblower will also be advised of the outcome within two (2) weeks of the matter being determined. 

The Internal Audit Department shall maintain a log of disclosures and all actions taken. 


Reporting Reprisal or Victimization

Persons who feel that they have been victimized because of a report made in accord with this policy should:
    i) write to the Chair, Complaints Review Committee (Corporate Secretary;) and 
   ii) request a review by the Complaint Review Committee. The Internal Auditor should also be copied. All information pertinent to the case should be provided at the time of writing. 
The Corporate Secretary must log the complaint and convene a meeting of the Committee or pass the matter to the Chair, Human Resource Committee of the Board if the complaint is against a member of the Executive Leadership Team. Such a meeting must be convened within ten (10) days and a decision given within three (3) weeks. 

The complainant and Internal Auditor must be notified in writing of the decision taken by the Complaints Review Committee. 


Retention of Information related to Disclosures    


All documents and records regarding any Whistleblowing Complaint shall be retained for a period of seven (7) years save and except any documents are related to ongoing legal proceedings. 


Policy Administration 

The Internal Auditor is responsible for the periodic (at least biennial) review and recommending update of this policy guide to the Audit Committee of the Board. The policy shall also be reviewed upon the passage and proclamation of relevant whistleblower legislation.



  1. Appendix I - Suspected Improper Conduct Report Form 

  2. Appendix II - SWMCOL Whistleblower Policy Process Flow

Get into green sustainability recycling with SWMCOL and save the environment.

“Get into Green” is more than a call to action. It is both a precept and a promise.

The promise is that of a greener tomorrow for the benefit of all when we “Get into Green”.