Port Director Clement Reid has had his employment terminated by “mutual consent,” the Port Authority confirmed Wednesday.
The Port Authority board has declined to comment directly on the circumstances of Mr. Reid’s departure or the findings of its internal investigation into his performance, which has been going on for the past six months.
Mr. Reid was suspended from his job in May in the aftermath of a damning auditor general’s report that highlighted breaches of hiring rules and excessive spending on office upgrades, among a number of concerns. The suspected theft of boat engines, which was not reported to police, was also highlighted as a concern by auditors.
That theft has since become the subject of a police investigation. Mr. Reid is not personally under investigation by the police, the Cayman Compass understands.
Following the auditor’s report in May, the port board said that it was “generally displeased” with Mr. Reid but opted not to terminate his employment. Around a week later, he was suspended from his job.
At the time, chairman Errol Bush said other concerns had emerged that were unrelated to the auditor’s report. He declined to elaborate. Contacted by the Cayman Compass Wednesday, Mr. Bush refused to comment, referring press queries to Acting Port Director Joseph Woods.
Mr. Woods issued a brief emailed comment, stating, “The Port Authority of the Cayman Islands confirms that, by mutual consent, the employment of the Port Director Clement Reid was terminated on Nov. 23, 2018. The Board extends its appreciation to Mr. Reid for his many years of service at the Port Authority. No further statement will be made in relation to this matter.”
Mr. Reid is the third chief executive to part ways with a government-owned company or statutory authority in the past two months without public explanation.
CINICO CEO Lonny Tibbetts was dismissed in early October. The insurance company’s board declined to comment or explain his departure from the publicly funded government health insurance company.
Paul Parchment, CEO of the National Roads Authority, was dismissed from the National Roads Authority later the same month. The board released a brief statement through Government Information Services indicating he had been fired after an “investigation into possible misuse of NRA resources,” but did not give details.
Port Director Mr. Reid first came under the microscope in early May after the auditor general released a report detailing questionable employment practices and excessive spending at the port. The report highlighted overspending on new hires and revealed that more than $130,000 was spent on “office upgrades” for two senior port staffers, including more than $30,000 for vases, lounge chairs, rugs and “poufs” [ottomans].
At the time, port board chair Mr. Bush stated in a letter to Mr. Reid, seen by the Compass, that he could have been fired on the spot following the auditor’s report. “The board is of the view that your conduct is tantamount to gross or serious misconduct in the course of your employment which would justify the board in summarily dismissing you without notice.”
However, the board stated, following a detailed presentation by Mr. Reid explaining his actions in relation to the various matters raised in the auditor’s report, that it would not adopt “such a draconian course” as terminating the director’s appointment.
Instead board members issued a written warning.
He was suspended a week later.