Shake up at airports authority

CFO dismissed, chief executive on leave

The Cayman Islands Airports Authority board of directors has, within the past week, dismissed the authority’s chief financial officer and placed the authority’s chief executive officer on paid leave.  

In an interview Thursday, the board’s deputy chairman Steve McField confirmed that authority chief executive officer Jeremy Jackson had been placed on “required leave” as of Monday. Meanwhile, authority chief financial officer Shelly Ware was dismissed by the board last Friday afternoon, Mr. McField said. “The board is conducting an audit of the Cayman Islands Airports Authority and until those matters are concluded and the board comes to a final decision on those matters, Mr. Jackson has been asked to take leave,” Mr. McField said.  

Kerith McCoy has been named acting chief executive officer for the meantime, Mr. McField said. Robert Harris will fill in for Mr. McCoy as chief operating officer. The position of the chief financial officer was not immediately replaced, 
Mr. McField said.  

With regard to Ms Ware’s dismissal, Mr. McField said: “Ms Ware was dismissed from her position by the board, as the board had the right to do pursuant to her contract of employment and the Labour Law. At this time it would be prejudicial, probably, and irresponsible for me if I would say anymore about the ongoing situation until the audit is completed and the board has made a final decision on the report.” 

Attempts to reach Mr. Jackson regarding the staff shake up were not successful by press time. Ms Ware also could not be reached 
for comment.  

Asked about the nature of the audit, Mr. McField responded: “It is a complete audit of the CIAA. That has been conducted by the board for the last month or more.”  

Mr. McField said that no “criminal authorities” had been contacted in the course of the audit.  

Questions have been raised as to whether the airports authority board had the legal authority to terminate the organisation’s chief financial officer. Mr. McField, who is an attorney, responded on behalf of the board Thursday.  

“All employees in the Cayman Islands Airports Authority are employed by the board and work for the board and are responsible to the board and the board has the responsibility for the administration of the Cayman Islands Airports Authority,” Mr. McField said.  

Asked whether the staff shake up had any relation to the recent investment proposal made by a Canadian government-owned company for Owen Roberts International Airport, Mr. McField simply replied: “No.”  

The Canadian government-owned company’s proposal for Owen Roberts International Airport involves a capital investment of US$200 million from private sources in order to double the capacity of the Grand Cayman airport and extend the runway, in exchange for a 30 to 40 year concession contract.  

In October, representatives from Canada and the Cayman Islands-based Paramount Group held three days of talks with officials from the Cayman government and business sector.  

The proposal by the Canadian Commercial Corporation – the Canadian government’s international contracting and procurement agency – follows the same concession structure it used in an ongoing US$700 million Quito International Airport project in Ecuador, according to a copy of the presentation the Canadians made to the 
Cayman Islands Airports Authority. 

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5 COMMENTS

  1. An audit of the CIAA being conducted by the board is hardly independent but a very good red flag. Hope those sniffer dogs at the airport are ready for some exercise.

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