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PAAC seeks answers on sacking of CEOs of public bodies

Published:Thursday | July 19, 2018 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Staff Reporter

Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) yesterday sought answers on management changes resulting in the sacking of heads of public bodies at three agencies which were then under the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology.

Acting general manager of Petrojam Telroy Morgan told the committee that Howard Mollison, a former general manager of the state-run oil refinery, had a clause in his contract that stated that if then general manager, Winston Watson, who was on secondment at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), returned to the company, the incumbent had to leave.

Mollison's contract was terminated on July 20, 2016. Watson returned to the company from August to November 2016. Watson told the committee that Mollison's contract was due to end in February 9, 2017. At the same time, Floyd Grindley took up the job as general manager at Petrojam in November 23, 2016.

Watson, who was at yesterday's sitting, admitted that he was on secondment but returned to Petrojam for three months.

"Primarily, I was sent to PCJ to assist with building a corporate governance framework at the time, so that would have started," he explained. However, after his three-month stint at Petrojam, Watson again went back to the PCJ on a second secondment.

Morgan told the committee that Mollison's dismissal was before the Industrial Disputes Tribunal. Mollison is said to have complained about "unfair dismissal".

"It's curious," said Wykeham McNeill, chairman of the PAAC.

Further, the committee was told that Herman Athias, former chief executive officer of eGov Jamaica's contract, was terminated in December 2016. His successor, Maurice Barnes, said that Athias has claimed unfair dismissal and that his case was also before the labour ministry. The PAAC also learned that Carolyn Warren started on October 2016 as human resource manager at National Energy Solutions Limited (NESOL) and was promoted to managing director in January 2017.