Fri | Apr 3, 2020

Patria-Kaye Aarons | What’s the big secret?

Published:Tuesday | February 12, 2019 | 12:11 AM

At the risk of sounding pedantic, I still have questions about this Petrojam mess.

I’ll leave the arguments about legality to the lawyers, but what’s the big secret that requires an NDA (non-disclosure ­agreement)? There’s already so much information in the public domain that isn’t pretty.

It’s already been exposed that Miss Ramharrack was academically under qualified for the position; she didn’t hold the managerial years of experience required; under her stewardship, there were some questionable hires and contracts; her probation period was laughable; and her salary defied the laws of gravity.

Those were all made public by way of the auditor general’s report and Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) ­televised meeting. All before a separation settlement was drafted between the ­relevant attorneys.

As far as the public was concerned, the bad and the ugly had already been revealed, so what else could there be to hide? So much so that Petrojam was to be silenced with legal action? Now I really want to know. I feel we ought to know, not just out of curiosity and downright ‘faas’, but because knowing may be a matter of national interest. How are we (and our pockets) hurting by not knowing?


My second lingering question is: What made her so special in the first place? A wah bout her suh? Who had such ­confidence in her abilities to appoint her to not one, but three, boards in the same ministry, transition her to a cushy million-dollar-a-month salary with plenty perks, and pay her a tidy sum to leave? Must be nice.

In the private sector (and one would hope in the public sector as well), board appointments aren’t willy-nilly decisions. Thoughtful care is given to skill sets that complement existing board compositions.

Who was the one who said, “She has what we lack ”… and what were those things? And were there board minutes to reflect the reasoning behind the ­decision and outlining what she and the other potential appointees brought to the table? Can I request those minutes under the Access to Information Act?

The bigger question for me is one of ­accountability. Of consequences. Can’t people get plain fired anymore? Even with the wealth of missteps made during her tenure at Petrojam, we still had to politely ask her to leave … and accompany that parting of ways with $9 million?

So, if you couldn’t fire her, who can you fire? Under what grounds? Does it mean once you work within the public sector, it’s a job for life? Yu safe? Worst case, them put you in a back office to drink Milo and file papers and hire someone else to do your actual work … but you can’t get fired because antiquated laws, ­painstaking processes and technicalities are on your side. Rubbish.

Enquiring minds are wondering.

Patria-Kaye Aarons is a con­fectioner and broadcaster. Email feedback to and