Multiple top officials left in 2018 without explanation

At least five top public officials left their posts during 2018, with government providing little to no explanation for their removals.

The highest-profile departure was that of Governor Anwar Choudhury, who was initially “temporarily withdrawn” from his post by U.K. officials pending an internal investigation into complaints about his behavior. He had only been on duty for two-and-a-half months.

In September, Mr. Choudhury was officially removed from his post and placed in another diplomatic posting in London.

The U.K.’s Daily Mail has reported allegations based on anonymous sources that Mr. Choudhury, 59, had been “bullying” staff members during his time in office here, and engaging in inappropriate conduct with both Governor’s Office staff and family members.

However, both the Cayman government and the U.K. have declined to release the contents of staff complaints made against the former governor – government said the records “belong to the government of the United Kingdom,” and the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office said releasing the records would violate data-protection laws.

It appears the people of the Cayman Islands may never be told why the governor was pulled from his post.

Other departures included CINICO CEO Lonny Tibbetts, NRA CEO Paul Parchment, Port Authority Director Clement Reid, and Department of Environmental Health Director Roydell Carter. In addition, Utility Regulation and Competition Office CEO J. Paul Morgan left his position when his contract expired in August, though the OfReg board of directors gave him a vote of confidence on his way out.

In March, Mr. Carter was placed on required leave from the Department of Environmental Health for unspecified reasons, and in September government announced that he chose to “retire” from the civil service. His departure coincided with an internal government inquiry over the management of overtime in his department. The results of that inquiry by the Internal Audit Service have not yet been revealed.

A month after Mr. Carter was placed on required leave, Mr. Parchment was placed on leave from the NRA in April. Mr. Parchment was dismissed in October, with the NRA board releasing a brief statement through Government Information Services indicating he had been fired after an “investigation into possible misuse of NRA resources.” The statement did not give details.

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. Mr. Reid was terminated by “mutual consent” in November.

Mr. Tibbetts was also abruptly dismissed in early October. The insurance company’s board declined to comment on 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.

While most of these top public officials left under suspect circumstances, OfReg Chairman Linford Pierson praised Mr. Morgan, saying that the former CEO “has done a fantastic job since he’s been there” and that hopefully he will be available to assist Cayman in the future if the need arises.

However, OfReg ran a nearly $1.5 million operating deficit in 2017, its first year of existence, racking up some $234,000 in travel expenses, $234,000 in legal fees, and $304,630 in “other operating expenses.”

1 COMMENT

  1. The taxpayer has a right to know why Mr Tibbetts was summarily dismissed. This man must have committed a serious transgression for this action to be taken, so why should he be “protected”. This would never happen in the UK where any public official who loses his job is held accountable and full details of reasons for dismissal are released.
    The case of Mr Chouldhury is an extremely rare exception which I most certainly do not agree with, and I can only assume that with his distinguished diplomatic career coming to an end after his Cayman posting was completed, he was allowed the benefit of anonymity.It was however, undoubtedly a snub from HMG to the Cayman Government and it’s people who deserved a lot better.