Sat | Dec 16, 2017

Graham’s estate to persist with JSE case

Published:Sunday | November 5, 2017 | 12:00 AMMcPherse Thompson
Wentworth Graham...passed away last week.

Disciplinary proceedings instituted against Wentworth Graham, chief regulatory officer of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), have been abandoned consequent on his passing last week.

Asked what happens with those proceedings now, Robin Levy, who until Friday was deputy general manager of the JSE, said "it's over."

However, Graham's estate will continue to pursue his lawsuit against the JSE, over his alleged suspension, Gleaner Business was advised on Friday.

Graham, who was sent on leave in January this year pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings against him, also had the Ministry of Labour refer his case to the Industrial Disputes Tribunal, IDT, after contending that he was unjustifiably suspended.

The IDT hearings should have started in mid-September, but was adjourned at that time because there was a dispute about whether the terms of reference were accurate.

That was because the terms of reference said that the IDT was to resolve the dispute regarding Graham's suspension and the JSE's attorneys took the position that if it is worded in that way one has come to the conclusion that it's a suspension. As a result, the terms of reference was sent back to the ministry to be reworded.

 

'END OF EVERYTHING'

 

The JSE contended that Graham was not suspended but sent on administrative leave.

"I think with the death of Graham that is the end of everything," said the JSE's lawyer, Patrick Foster, QC, who opposed an application brought by Graham earlier this year seeking an injunction to bar the exchange from conducting disciplinary proceedings against him pending the outcome of the matter before the IDT.

Court of Appeal Justice Jennifer Straw, in upholding the Supreme Court's decision not to grant the injunction, noted that it is a feature of the case that a decreased level of trust and confidence existed between Graham and the JSE at the time of the alleged suspension.

The court noted that in a December 2016 letter sent to Graham, he received commendation for the quality of his work. But the JSE's expressions of gratitude for his "hard work and contribution which positively impacted the company's excellent performance for 2016" transformed that same month to questions about his "efficacy".

This drastic transformation, it said, seemingly coincided with Graham's persistence in requiring the JSE to submit an amended report for the shareholding of its directors, senior managers and their connected parties. Graham's letter, which apparently incurred the wrath of his superiors and resulted in their swift and sudden diminished view of his performance, was addressed to JSE boss Marlene Street-Forrest, dissenting Court of Appeal Justice Almarie Sinclair-Haynes noted.

Graham sought the injunction after filing a claim against the JSE and Street Forrest, alleging breach of his employment contract.

Foster said the trial of the lawsuit had not yet started, "but it's not going to go anywhere now," adding that "every-thing is at an end - the lawsuit, the disciplinary hearing and the IDT" hearing.

Graham's attorney Georgia Gibson Henlin, QC, was not reached for comment, but Graham's family said they got confirmation that the case would continue.

mcpherse.thompson@gleanerjm.com