No conflict of interest at CHASE, JCA
THE EDITOR, Sir:
In response to a letter to the editor by an anonymous writer, published in The Gleaner of Wednesday, April 20, let me begin by making two important factual observations. First, the mandate of the CHASE Fund is to receive, distribute, administer and manage the monetary contributions from the lottery companies, pursuant to Section 59G of the betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act, in connection with sports development, early-childhood education, health, arts and culture.
Second, the decision to fund any project is made by the directors of the board and based on an assessment of whether the proposal 'fits' within the objects of CHASE.
Let me now address the two 'projects' which the writer highlights as evidencing a perceived conflict of interest on the part of the CEO.
The first is a state-of-the-art gym at Sabina Park. That initiative was significantly funded by the National Health Fund. The CHASE Fund was approached to cover additional project costs arising because of movement in the foreign exchange. The request was considered by a number of committees of the board and the recommendation to support approved by the full board. The CEO was not party to this decision-making process, nor did he put forward the request.
The matter of funding by CHASE of cricket through the clubs and associations is the second area of contention put forward by the writer. Over the years, funding of sport-related projects has seen a heavy focus on athletics and football. As a result, the board received representations from various groups and individuals for more meaningful levels of support for cricket. The representations for support to cricket were made long before any publicly known aspiration by the CEO for election to the position of president of the Jamaica Cricket Association.
Against this background, the chairman of the board directed that the matter of support for cricket, in the context of heritage, be reviewed by an independent researcher and academic at the University of the West Indies. A final report was prepared in June 2015 providing justification for support of the sport.
The recommendations contained in the report were considered by the Arts & Culture Committee of CHASE and subsequently approved by the full board of directors. Again, the CEO did not initiate support for the 'project', nor was he part of the decision-making process.
Against this background, any perceived conflict must be put to rest.