Sun | Sep 26, 2021

Rickman resigns as HEART Trust director, asked to act as interim boss

Published:Monday | April 19, 2021 | 3:13 PM
Cracks at HEART have been emerging in the public domain as staff members are split over the board's non-renewal of Dr Janet Dyer's contract as managing director and subsequent senior appointments, which critics feel were unmerited.

Colonel Martin Rickman has confirmed that he has resigned as a board director of the embattled HEART/NSTA Trust after being asked to act as interim managing director.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who has oversight for the multibillion-dollar training agency, had reappointed Rickman to the board on March 1 for a two-year term. 

"I have resigned from the board and that was done in anticipation of being named acting managing director," said Rickman, who has been on secondment from the Jamaica Defence Force to head the HOPE programme.  

"That has not yet been confirmed," he added.  

Cracks at HEART have been emerging in the public domain as staff members are split over the board's non-renewal of Dr Janet Dyer's contract as managing director and subsequent senior appointments, which critics feel were unmerited. 

READ: HEART issues … disquiet at agency after non-renewal of MD’s contract

On April 8, the board chairman, Edward Gabbidon, announced that senior director Novelette Denton-Prince would oversee the agency's operations through to April 30. 

News came last week that Kenesha Campbell, director of strategic partnerships, was promoted to acting deputy managing director.

Yesterday, The Sunday Gleaner revealed that SynCon Technologies, whose chief executive officer is HEART's chairman, was awarded almost $40 million in contracts since 2017 when he was first appointed. 

READ: Eyebrows raised as chairman’s company bags millions in contracts

Internal communication also shows procurement officials expressing frustration about the state of affairs. 

The Jamaica Accountability Meter Portal and the National Integrity Action have demanded that Holness revisit Gabbidon's status given the developments. 

HEART, whose certification rate has been under scrutiny, is in transition after the functions of three entities were merged into its structure in 2017.

The agency is funded by a tax on employers. 

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