I am responding with much hesitation to the article captioned `Deputy CEO Calvin Benn opts not to renew contract with GECOM’, which was published in the Chronicle newspaper of April 23, 2014.
This hesitation is so because having made my decision not to renew my contract I hope to quietly enjoy my retirement away from any public spotlight. However, having received numerous telephone calls from relatives and friends I have decided to respond. The article purported to inform readers that I would not be renewing my contract. However, unlike the other newspapers which dealt specifically with the subject at hand, the reporter proceeded to link the matter with Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing of the Auditor General’s (AG’s) Report on GECOM for 2011. In so doing, the reporter conveyed the impression that I was responsible for the financial management of GECOM in 2011. I was not.
I am aware that the Chronicle Newspapers had reporters who were present at the hearing. Unlike other hearings that afternoon, that hearing had the presence of other reporters from all the local newspapers. The Chronicle reporter(s) ought to recall that, in my opening statement to the PAC, I clearly stated that I was not the Accounting Officer for GECOM for the Year 2011.
While I was being “hauled over the proverbial coals”, I pointed out that all the deficiencies in the 2011 AG’s Report took place under the stewardship of my predecessor. I was dealing with those matters not as the person Calvin Benn but as the Acting Chief Election Officer representing the affairs of GECOM and was therefore required to answer the queries of the PAC in that capacity. The newspaper article failed to make this distinction. Except for the questions related to the stolen $435,000 (not $500,000.00) all other queries and issues were directly related to the Office of the CEO for the period 2006-2011. In the circumstances, I think it is impertative that I respond to the aforementioned newspaper article, less an impressionable reader comes to the conclusion that my decision not to renew my contract was influenced by the issues emanating from the hearing of the PAC.