Members of Parliament reacted angrily today after it was revealed that two former managers of the scandal-rocked State-owned oil refinery, Petrojam, were given millions of dollars in compensation upon being separated from the entity.
The compensation packages were negotiated and agreed to despite documented breaches of corporate governance. The matter was raised at Tuesday’s sitting of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
It was revealed that both the former General Manager, Floyd Grindley, and Human Resources Manager, Yolande Ramharrak, received millions in compensation upon resigning from Petrojam last year.
The Members of the Parliaments PAC came to the consensus that the compensation packages given to the two former managers who resigned from Petrojam amid allegations of corruption and nepotism, amount to a rewarded for corruption.
Committee Member, Fitz Jackson, says the issue cannot be allowed to stand.
Former General Manager, Floyd Grindley, was given a gross compensation package of over $7-million or four months salary. He received just under $4-million after deductions.
The former HR Manager, Yolande Ramharrak, received just over $9-million from the entity or eight months salary. She received a net sum of approximately $4-million after deductions. Both former managers have since left the island.
This was particularly difficult for the committee to accept, particularly against the backdrop of Mr. Grindley, prematurely ending Ms. Ramharrak’s probation period at the entity and then retroactively increasing her annual salary by $3-million.
According to Acting General Manager, Winston Watson, attempts to contact Mr. Grindley since his separation from Petrojam have been unsuccessful.
Committee member, Peter Bunting, called the entire state of affairs a case study in unscrupulousness.
Mr. Watson explained to the committee that Petrojam felt it expedient to settle rather than have the matter drag on while still paying their salaries.
However, Committee member, Lisa Hanna, says this is a damning indictment on Petrojam’s management considering the significant losses that have bedevilled the State-owned oil refinery.
Ms. Hanna also says if any private sector entity had been similarly mismanaged every member of staff would be terminated.
In the meantime, some members of the PAC are questioning if Portfolio Minister, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, signed off on the settlements noting they were approved by both the current Petrojam Board and the Ministry of Finance.
However, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Sancia Bennett Templer, says the decision was made before her tenure and as such she was unable to give an answer to that question.