JIS News

Minister of Health and Environment, Rudyard Spencer, advised the House of Representatives yesterday (Oct. 28), that there was nothing “malicious or vindictive” in the termination of the services of Rae Barrett, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Fund (NHF).
“It is very important that the country understand that the CEO was appointed by the former administration. When this Government came to power we retained the CEO so there can’t be anything malicious,” Mr. Spencer said.
He informed the House of Representatives, that there was a breach of the procurement procedures process in May of this year, when the NHF accepted a bid for the investment of pension funds four days after the closing date and the contract was awarded to the company, Capital and Credit, which tendered late.
This he said led to questions being raised by the Board about the procurement practices and investment policy of the Fund.
“The Board itself approved the award (of the contract) and you might ask on what basis they approved the award. They approved the award because they were not told that the third bid came in late. It was during a meeting afterwards that a Board member discovered it, raised it and it was explained to the Board,” the Health Minister said.
Mr. Spencer also stated that he subsequently held several meetings with the Board, including the procurement committee, in an attempt to determine the procurement and investment policy framework that guided the NHF activities, so as to ensure that the organisation was operating within those required guidelines.
“It is indeed the responsibility of the CEO to ensure that the organisation operates within the Government’s procurement guidelines. It was within this context that the Board found it untenable for the CEO to remain at the helm of the organisation,” Mr. Spencer noted.
At a press briefing held by Mr. Spencer, on Monday (Oct. 27), he announced that Vice President of Management and Information Systems, at the (NHF), Hugh Lawson, will act as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of the agency, until a new CEO is hired.