(CMR) Well placed Cayman Marl Road sources have indicated that Cayman Island Port Director, Clement Reid, has been suspended effective today. Concerns mounted earlier this month regarding misuse of funds and overall poor management practices.
The director has been embroiled in a scandal so big that even CMR contributors were shocked at the allegations and at a lost of how to the multiple tips that we had received in the past month.
The scandals came to a head when the Cayman Auditor General's office issued a report alleging gross misconduct. Despite the scathing report the board of directors refused to remove him from the post and merely issued a warning and placed him on a 12-month probation. His letter stated that the board was “generally displeased” with the “sufficiently serious” misconduct exposed in a special report by the Office of the Auditor General that he could have been dismissed.
There are numerous allegations as it relates to hiring, pay increases and staff management as well as various other staff complaints being ignored. In particular he created multiple new jobs with allegedly inflated salaries and ignored the good governance laid out in the Public Authorities Law and Port Handbook. This in turn, has led to a poor fiscal position at the port.
Auditors pointed to several examples where port employees were hired at salaries greater than advertised, as well as instances where people were hired for new positions where no advertising was done at all.
They alleged that this was done outside of the provisions of the newly adopted Public Authorities Law, which puts stricter controls over hiring and recruitment within statutory authorities such as the port.
Reid said the provisions of that law had not come into force at the time most of the hires covered in the auditor’s report were made.
“There has been criticism that, in certain instances, I was in breach of [the] Public Authorities Law,” Mr. Reid said. “The fact that most of my decisions regarding recruitment took place before the law came into force, is highly relevant for explanation. Further, this is a new piece of legislation (not a revision of a previous law) and neither myself nor other members of the Authority, had any training until December 2017.”
The auditors’ concerns about port hiring decisions included a number of situations between late 2016 and 2017:
A deputy director for human resources was paid at a salary scale above the advertised range of $88,000 to $125,000 per year for a post that did not originally exist in the port’s 2016/17 budget. Three other Caymanians scored higher than the successful candidate on the interview matrix used for the position, auditors said.
CMR sources further allege that one female staff in particular was granted a substantial pay increase because of a personal relationship with the director.
Additionally, there were allegations of poor use of port funds amounting to over $135,000 for the redecoration of the director's office. There were also concerns about boat engine thefts and preferential leave terms for a particular member of staff who was permitted to take 63 days paid leave in one year.
CMR sources indicate that the governor was in full support of the decision in hopes to improve the integrity of the civil service and that other high ranking civil servants may see themselves facing a similar fate in the near future.
The board remains tight-lipped and no official statement has yet been made on the suspension. This suspension comes at a time when multiple civil servants are suspended, arrested and on required leave pending further investigations.
Public opinion is that the civil service is being cleaned up and many should be fearful if they are engaging in illegal or poor management.
The Board of Directors of the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands (PACI) announced the selection of Mr. Clement Reid as the new Port Director of the PACI in November 2015.