The Universal Service Fund (USF) wishes to clarify the misunderstanding that has been circulating that is giving the impression that Dr. Hugh Cross, former Chief Executive Officer of the USF was fired from the entity as a part of a political cleansing.
The USF under this current board has never participated in such acts and condemns the very nature of such activity. It is therefore necessary to set the record straight.
The board of the fund ended the relationship with Dr. Cross after it was discovered that he had an unlawful contractual arrangement with the entity.
For clarity we attach a chronology of the events leading to the end of such relationship for your information.
Chronology of Events
- January 31, 2016– General Elections were announced, to be held February 25, 2016
- February 4, 2016– Ministry of Finance and Planning issued circular Re: Conduct of Directors of Boards of Public Bodies during Transition Periods. The circulated, among other things, advised Boards that no new appointment to executive position should be made until a new Board is appointed.
- February 11, 2016– Meeting of the Board of Director of USF took place with Chairman Wellesley Blair and CEO Hugh Cross, in attendance. At the meeting, the February 4th circular was presented to the Board Dr. Cross.
- On February 25, 2016-the Jamaica Labour Party won the elections and was set to form the new administration
- March 3, 2016– Andrew Holness sworn in as Prime Minister of Jamaica
- March 7, 2016– New Cabinet sworn in at Jamaica House, with Dr. Andrew Wheatley being named as the new Minister of Science Energy and Technology. The USF fall directly under this Ministry.
- April 1 2016 Cabinet of Jamaica approved the appointment of members to the Board of the USF
- April 7, 2016-, Dr. Cross signed a new contract of employment which was dated April 7, 2016. NB. Dr Cross existing contract had not expired.
- April 8, 2016– Dr. Cross, at 8.20am emailed all senior managers, advising them that a new Board had been appointed. On the same day, Dr. Wellesley Blair signed the contract of employment of Dr. Cross. No previous Board minutes show that the Board ever discussed the renewal of Dr. Cross’ contract. Further, after advising the staff of the change of Directorship, Dr. Cross signed the Official Secret Act Declaration which forms part of his contract, on April 8, 2016.
- At the time of signing, Dr. Blair was no longer the chairman of the Board, thus, he did not have the authority to sign a contract of employment for anyone on behalf of the USF.
- On July 29, 2016– two Directors requested a special meeting of the Board to discuss matters of importance.
- August 5, 2016– the new Board convened a meeting and discussed the ‘contract’ of Dr. Cross. At that meeting, the Board took the decision to separate from of Dr. Cross.