Richard Arch confirmed his resignation from the helm of the authority. Other civilian heads of the Cayman Islands’ statutory boards are expected to follow as the new government puts its own teams in place.
Mr. Arch said he stood by the decisions the board had made during his tenure as chairman, including the controversial dismissal of CEO Jeremy Jackson and chief financial officer Shelly Ware, which is now being challenged in court.
He said the termination of both contracts had been a collective board decision after considering the findings of a forensic audit, which he had initiated. The audit findings are now with the police, he said.
Mr. Arch said he believes his position will be vindicated once the report is released. He confirmed last week that he had tendered his resignation after receiving a letter from the new Minister of Tourism, Moses Kirkconnell.
He said he had been asked to resign and offered the chance to “offer his services in the future”. He added that he felt his services were no longer required and had tendered his resignation and would not be seeking any role with the board in the near future. Mr. Kirkconnell, also the deputy premier, said last week that all the government-appointed boards and commissions are now being reviewed as far as membership.
Mr. Kirkconnell, who has ministerial responsibility for the airports authority, said he expected to announce changes to that board as well as the Cayman Airways board of directors “early [this] week”.
Any changes would be part of the normal process of a new government’s duties upon taking office and not because of any particular situation with the airports authority board.
Mr. Kirkconnell denied that Mr. Arch’s resignation had anything to do with the controversy that has surrounded the authority in recent months.
The internal audit, which led to the dismissal of Mr. Jackson and Ms Ware, is just one aspect. Board members are facing allegations of breaching the Anti-Corruption Law, though the commission responsible for enforcing this has yet to confirm that it plans to launch a full investigation.
Mr. Arch again defended himself against accusations of conflicts of interest relating to his ownership of Air Agencies ground handling firm and insisted he had always acted properly and within the law.
“There was no contravention of the law and I always withdrew prior any discussions that might be considered as conflicting.”
He said he had made his ownership of Air Agencies clear to former Premier McKeeva Bush and former Cabinet Minister Cline Glidden when they came to his home to ask if he would accept the appointment. He said he told them he was “ready, willing and able” but would only accept on the condition that government initiate a forensic audit into activities at the authority and would consider his position temporary until that happened.
He said he had personally initiated the audit, which ultimately led to the dismissal of Mr. Jackson and Ms Ware, after it became clear that request would not be met. He said the biggest regret of his tenure was that the redevelopment of Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman had not happened.
“I regret that of the many approvals that were made by the board, that the redevelopment of the ORIA based on excellent designs in 1994 are delayed yet another time.
“With cooperation from all concerned, the redevelopment can still be completed for Christmas … I am available at any time for consultations in my field of experience and knowledge.”