ICTA head ‘terminated’ but paid out

The former managing director of the Cayman Islands Information and Communication Technology Authority had his contract terminated three months prior to its completion, but was still paid the remainder of his salary, Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts revealed last week.

Former ICTA head David Archbold was replaced in November after he was involved in a public controversy surrounding hiring practices at the authority.

Mr. Tibbetts told the Legislative Assembly’s Finance Committee that Cabinet terminated Mr. Archbold’s contract following legal advice because it had been cheaper to pay him out till the end of his contract than engage in legal wrangling.

A report about the hiring process for Mr. Archbold’s pending replacement was completed, but the minister has yet to make it public.

Minster Tibbetts said the decision to terminate the contract was based on the fact it “was not a very expensive proposition compared to what legal costs may have been and, based on that legal advice, we terminated the contract and paid the individual out through to the end of the contract.”

Minister Tibbetts said the only other option available to government would have been to not pay out the contract after termination.

“We ran the risk, even if at the end of the day we were not at fault for not paying out the contract, of it actually costing the government more because of legal hassling back and forth … it could have ended up costing four or five times more,” Mr. Tibbetts said,

A review by the ICTA board determined that “at some point, there was bad judgment exercised by way of a possible contract,” Mr. Tibbetts said.

Minister Tibbetts said Mr. Archbold received a signed contract for an ICTA position before a second round of advertisements was released for the job because “[Mr. Archbold] really was only putting these ads out to satisfy the requirements of the work permit application.”

“I don’t know what went on in his mind because I did not discuss it with him, but I don’t know how he couldn’t see a flaw in going through the hiring process while advertising the post and in essence that is where the whole situation went wrong,” Mr. Tibbetts said. “Whether the intentions were all the best intentions or not, the whole process was handled wrong and that was not something that we as a Cabinet could say that’s OK, let’s just put that one behind us.”

North Side MLA Ezzard Miller, who first raised the issue of the ICTA’s hiring practices while questioning Mr. Archbold when he appeared before the Legislative Assembly’s finance committee last year, asked Mr. Tibbetts why Mr. Archbold had been given a payout and why no disciplinary action had been taken.

“I find this is what I would call a reward as opposed to a punishment,” Mr. Miller said, adding that, in his view, Mr. Archbold had committed perjury when he appeared before the finance committee last year.

East End MLA Arden McLean said the people had a right to know why Mr. Archbold’s contract had been terminated.

“The minister is saying that Cabinet terminated the contract and still paid him? Is that how contracts work?” Mr. McLean said. “The people’s money, transparency, openness, the people needs to know because there had to be a reason why this gentleman was terminated.”
New ICTA managing director Alee Fa’more addressed the Legislative Assembly last week on the 11th day of his appointment. He took over the position from acting managing director Glen Daykin.

“We now have a very capable Caymanian who is head of the and I’m sure that all of us here and the whole country will be proud at the end of the day of the job that he will do,” Mr. Tibbetts said.