Government silent on allegations
By Sam Strangeways
failed to answer questions about the American contractors accused in
court of publishing "false and fraudulent information" about the
African Diaspora Heritage Trail (ADHT) Foundation.
Associates Inc. got hundreds of thousands of taxpayers' dollars last
year from the Department of Tourism to organise an ADHT conference at
the Fairmont Southampton. But tourism director William Griffith told
The Royal Gazette yesterday he wasn't sure if the Department wished
to respond to queries about allegations made about the firm in Supreme
Court and backed up by evidence submitted by ousted civil servant LeYoni
Nor did Mr. Griffith
provide answers to queries about why Henderson Associates — run by
brother and sister Jake Henderson and Gaynelle Henderson-Bailey — remain
hired as event planners for ADHT or how much their contract is worth.
administrator Ms Junos, 47, won her civil case against Government for
unlawful dismissal on Friday but failed to convince Puisne Judge Ian
Kawaley that her sacking was the result of ministerial interference by
Premier Ewart Brown.
Days before she was
fired, Ms Junos was reprimanded by Tourism Minister Dr. Brown after
she raised concerns about Maryland-based Henderson Associates,
with whom she claimed the Premier had close ties.
submitted as evidence for the legal case included an e-mail from one of
her bosses at the Department of Tourism asking the Hendersons to retract
"misleading and not correct information" about the publicly funded
foundation having US charitable status and explain why it was asking for
donations for ADHT to be sent to an unknown entity called FACTS
Ms Junos told the ADHT
board in a letter the day before she was sacked that the Hendersons had
published "false and fraudulent information" — a view supported by the
foundation's lawyer Bala Nadarajah. Mr. Justice Kawaley, in his
judgement, said there was "no basis for any suggestion that the...
inaccuracies they were criticised for were motivated by anything more
than excessive enthusiasm to start raising funds for the foundation".
He appeared to
chastise Ms Junos, who failed in her bid to get reinstated to her post,
for providing copies of her evidence to the media during the judicial
"She has (without
obvious justification) accused her former supervising officers of malice
and cowardice and, in the course of the hearing of her application, has
made materials available to the press which can only have embarrassed
the respondent," he wrote. "These actions (not improper in and of
themselves) were wholly inconsistent with the actions of an employee
who, while challenging the legality of their termination, is
simultaneously able to demonstrate their capacity to reassume their
former position in a harmonious manner."
has been involved with ADHT for several years but it is unclear if it
bids for the contract against competitors. An affidavit filed by Ms
Junos suggests it received $300,000 from the public purse in 2008.
instructions require at least three quotations to be obtained for
contracts worth more than $5,000, to ensure taxpayers get value for
money. Ms Junos states in her affidavit that minutes from a September
2008 meeting of the foundation board reveal that "Dr. Brown was
spearheading the finalisation of a 'multi-year Henderson agreement'".