Who really fired Hugh Graham?
Karl Samuda, minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and Fisheries, yesterday contradicted himself in informing Parliament that he did not in any way influence the axing of agronomist Hugh Graham as chief executive officer of the Jamaica Dairy Development Board (JDDB).
Using the privilege of 'personal explanation' afforded him by Speaker of the House Pearnel Charles, in keeping with parliamentary rules, the minister took the time to address "accusatory statements in respect of two specific issues relating to me, which cannot be allowed to go unanswered". He was referring to allegations made by Dr Dayton Campbell, member of parliament for North West St Ann, during the sectoral debate on Tuesday, May 9.
"The member stated that Mr Hugh Graham, former CEO of the Jamaica Dairy Development Board, was fired as a result of ... a disagreement between Graham and the minister over the granting of a licence to a company to import milk powder from Columbia for resale on the local market," said Samuda.
"This is totally false. Mr Speaker, I wish to state categorically that in no way did I influence that decision. It was one made entirely by the board of the JDDB."
However, in responding to the allegations in the precincts of Gordon House shortly after Campbell's address last week, Samuda told The Gleaner
during a recorded interview: "He (Dr Campbell) is getting correspondence from the man who I fired, or not I fired, the board fired, but I take ultimate responsibility. The people of Jamaica have elected me to this office and I have always managed my affairs and those I am entrusted with, with the highest level of integrity and will continue to do so."