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PAAC puzzled by sudden change in leadership at four state entities

PAAC member Fitz Jackson questioning Winston Watson, former general manager at Petrojam
 
Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) on Wednesday afternoon dug into the sudden change of leadership over a small period at four state entities which were the responsibility of Cabinet minister Dr. Andrew Wheatley.
 
The leadership changes were highlighted by PAAC chairman Dr. Wykeham McNeill, who wanted to know why they were made.
 
The entities are Petrojam, e-Gov, the Universal Service Fund (USF) and the National Energy Solutions Limited (NESOL). 
 
Petrojam has been in the spotlight for weeks, with many questions raised about appointments there.
 
However, Wednesday's sitting of the PAAC revealed another layer of information in relation to the appointment of recent general manager Floyd Grindley in November 2016, following the termination of the contract of the former general manager Howard Mollison.
 
Mr. Mollison's contract was reportedly terminated because the former general manager, Winston Watson, had returned from his secondment at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ).
 
However, shortly after Mr. Watson's return to Petrojam, he was sent back to the PCJ, while Mr. Grindley was then appointed to serve as general manager of Petrojam. 
 
That case is now at the Industrial Disputes Tribunal.
 
Dr. McNeill and his opposition colleague, Fitz Jackson, described the sequence of events as curious. 
 
With regards to the other entities, at e-Gov, Maurice Barnes replaced Herman Athias as Chief Executive Officer in 2016.
 
That case is now at the Ministry of Labour, with Mr. Athias claiming he was unfairly dismissed.
 
At the Universal Service Fund, Camille Buchanan joined in 2016, taking over from Hugh Cross.
 
Mr. Cross also challenged his dismissal. However, Ms. Buchanan said he withdrew his claim following a conciliatory meeting at the Ministry of Labour.
 
Wahkeen Murray, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Technology Ministry, said the boards of the respective entities made the decision to terminate the contracts.
 


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