Former Airports Authority boss cleared by police

Former airport boss Jeremy Jackson is hoping to resurrect his career and reputation after being cleared of wrongdoing following a two-and-a-half-year police investigation into allegations of financial misconduct. 

Mr. Jackson, who was fired as chief executive officer of the Cayman Islands Airports Authority in February 2013, said the allegations were baseless and suggested they were politically motivated. 

He said he was questioned on numerous occasions by police but never charged or arrested. 

Police spokeswoman Jacqueline Carpenter said, “The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service can confirm that the investigation involving Mr. Jackson has been closed and that no further action will be taken.” 

Mr. Jackson, who was informed of the decision in a letter from the police’s Financial Crime Unit on Friday, said, “I knew all along that I had done nothing wrong, and I was 100 percent confident that I would be vindicated.” 

He said he had been out of work and fighting to clear his name since being dismissed following an “internal audit” commissioned by the airports authority’s board. 

The audit, which was leaked and posted on the Internet but never officially released, included allegations of abuse of expenses by Mr. Jackson and Chief Financial Officer Shelley Ware, who was also dismissed. 

Ms. Ware was never the subject of any criminal investigation. It later emerged in an auditor general’s report that the board had paid $46,000 to one of its members to carry out the audit. 

The auditor questioned whether the board had ensured it got value for money in commissioning the review and warned that having a board member conduct the investigation, “raises concerns over the independence and objectivity of the audit.” 

Mr. Jackson believes the intention of the report was to get rid of him because he refused to be a “yes man” for the board. 

Despite the saga, which he says has cost him financially and affected his family, he says he would be willing to return to the airports authority – in any position except CEO. 

“I would like to go back at a level where I don’t have to deal with the political side of things,” said Mr. Jackson, who started his career as an air traffic controller, rising through the ranks to run the airports authority. 

“I knew I was innocent from day one and at this point I just want to put it behind me and move on,” he added. 

Since he was dismissed in early 2013, the government has changed and a new board has been appointed, and a new CEO, Albert Anderson, hired. 

Richard Arch was chairman of the board at the time Mr. Jackson was dismissed. The auditor general has questioned some of the practices of the board around that time, in particular in relation to the handling of potential conflicts of interest involving board members. Both Mr. Arch and fellow former board member Frank Flowers had firms that did business at the airport at the time. 

Minutes from board meetings during that period indicate Mr. Jackson was attempting to introduce new policies related to management of ground handling contracts at the airport.  

Mr. Arch has always denied any conflicts of interest relating to his ownership of the Air Agencies ground handling firm and insisted he had always acted properly and within the law. 

Mr. Jackson, following his dismissal, filed a complaint with the Anti-Corruption Commission against Mr. Arch, but police confirmed last year that the investigation had concluded with no charges brought. 

Former CFO Ms. Ware filed an application for judicial review of the decision to dismiss her, but was informed in June that the application had not been brought within the required time frame. 

“I was informed by police in February 2014 that there was never any investigation of any kind involving me,” Ms. Ware said Tuesday. “There has been proven to be no substance to the allegations that were made. Both Jeremy and I lost our jobs, and our reputations were damaged over this. I feel that we were both very wronged.” 

The Cayman Islands Airports Authority had no comment Tuesday. Mr. Arch said he did not wish to comment at this point. 

Mr. Jackson

Mr. Jackson