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Why the change of heart on Hugh Graham?

Published:Thursday | May 11, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju
Hugh Graham

The recent dismissal of Hugh Graham from the position of chief executive officer of the Jamaica Dairy Development Board (JDDB) represents a turnaround by Donald Elvey, chairman of the board of directors, who, seven months ago, recommended that the agronomist be retained in that substantive post on a permanent basis.

In a letter to Reginald Budhan, acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Industry and Fisheries, Elvey advised that the JDDB Board, at a meeting on July 7, 2016, had ratified the decision for Graham to be offered the position in which he had been acting from May 15, 2013, to May 15, 2016, with a significant increase in salary and emoluments.

This decision was stated to be based on his impressive stewardship of the statutory body over that three-year period.

In the letter, dated October 27, 2016, Elvey outlined the following conditions under which the board had been unanimous in its decision that Graham should be offered a permanent contract:

- The candidate is duly qualified with extensive experience relevant to the post and strategic repositioning of the JDDB.

- The magnitude of responsibilities given the Government's targets to increase national milk production to 20 million litres by fiscal year 2019-20.

However, it is now being suggested that Graham, in the execution of his duties, refused to kowtow to Agriculture Minister Karl Samuda and other top executives of the ministry and was dismissed for his insistence on adhering to the laws and regulations governing the affairs of the JDDB.