Tech authority director departs amid controversy

The longtime managing director of Cayman’s Information and Communications Technology Authority, David Archbold, abruptly left his post Tuesday and was replaced the same day.

According to a statement on the issue released by the Cabinet office: “Cabinet has approved the appointment of Mr. Glen Daykin as acting managing director of the Cayman Islands Information and Communications Technology Authority.”

Mr. Daykin has been deputy director at the authority since June 2011, a position which was relatively newly created amidst some controversy. He will serve in the acting post until “a new managing director has been appointed,” according to the Cabinet office statement.

Mr. Archbold’s replacement at the ICTA was imminent in any case. He told the Caymanian Compass recently that his contract was set to expire in February.

Why Mr. Archbold was replaced this week was not known. Questions sent to the premier’s office about the matter did not receive responses by press time.

Significant controversy surrounding hiring practices at the ICTA arose earlier this year, when North Side MLA Ezzard Miller asked about two jobs that were advertised this year by the Authority. Contracts for those jobs appeared to have been signed prior to the closing date listed on the advertisements.

One position had a signed contract on Jan. 20 for a position that was being advertised through Feb. 20, Mr. Miller said. Another position had a signed contract as of July 19 when the advertising for the post closed Aug. 2, the North Side member indicated.

Mr. Archbold, who testified in the Legislative Assembly’s finance committee about the matter, said that he was aware of the new hires, but did not know about the contracts being signed prior to the expiry dates of the advertisements. Mr. Archbold explained that advanced degrees were required for both positions and that non-Caymanians were hired for both.

“There are two senior posts,” he said. “One is an attorney, the other [has] a Ph.D or master’s in business management or economics. We have tried very hard over the years to get anybody interested in the legal side or economic side to come into the authority in a more junior post, and we have been unsuccessful.”

“You’re saying you have middle-level management for which you require doctorate and master’s degrees, but for the director’s position, you only require a first degree?” Mr. Miller asked.

“They are both specialist posts providing, on the one hand, regulatory legal advice to the board and the managing director and the other is a specialist regulatory economics expert who both carries out specialist work and advises the board and the managing director,” Mr. Archbold said.

Mr. Miller then asked about the hiring process for the managing director’s position, which sought to replace Mr. Archbold in the coming months.

Mr. Miller claimed the authority board had identified one of its own members as a potential candidate, making him deputy director “specially to take the post of managing director of the ICTA.”

“Does the existing contract of employment for the person who has been promised say that [the person] was given the deputy post specifically to be trained to be the managing director?” Mr. Miller asked.

“No, the contract does not say that and the person was always aware that there was no certainty there,” Mr. Archbold said. “And the ministry approved that?” Mr. Miller asked.

Mr. Archbold said the ministry had given no “firm commitment” on the matter.

Mr. Daykin has previously served on the ICTA board of directors but he was not appointed among the new board membership in August 2013.

Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts, who has responsibility for the ICTA, said the creation of the deputy director position was a decision of the previous ICTA board.

“A new board has been appointed and, as I understand it, the [managing director’s] post is being advertised locally and the deputy director will certainly be free to apply for the post and, if he is successful, then so be it,” Mr. Tibbetts said. “But the post will be advertised … and the normal process will take place and recommendations will be made to the Cabinet.

“If I had to make a personal observation, I don’t for a minute think there was anything untoward intended. But it should have been thought of the optics of the situation … even if the same result was what happened. But having said that, we are where we are and the post is being advertised and it will go through the full process.”

Mr. Tibbetts has said his ministry would undertake a review of the ICTA board processes in light of what had occurred. The results of any such review were not known at press time.