Charlie Parker ‘approved inaccurate statement’ about his NED appointment

GOVERNMENT chief executive Charlie Parker approved an inaccurate statement sent to the media suggesting his appointment as a non-executive director of a UK-based real-estate firm had been approved by the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

Charlie Parker, the government's chief executive Picture: ROB CURRIE. (29996765)
Charlie Parker, the government's chief executive Picture: ROB CURRIE. (29996765)

In October last year, it emerged that Mr Parker had been appointed to the board of New River.

A statement issued claimed that both Chief Minister John Le Fondré and Deputy Chief Minister Lyndon Farnham had approved the appointment.

However, it later transpired that Senator Le Fondré had given only verbal approval rather than the written acknowledgement that Mr Parker should have sought, while Senator Farnham has said he had warned the chief executive against taking on the directorship.

Mr Parker resigned in the fallout from the revelations, while Senator Le Fondré faced a vote of no confidence brought in part because of his handling of the controversy. The no-confidence motion failed.

The Chief Minister commissioned a review of government communications procedures as a result of the misleading statement. However, he said that he would not release the report.

The report, released following an FoI request by the JEP, said: ‘The press office protocol requires appropriate approval from senior officials and ministers. As there was no ministerial quote in this response to media queries, approval was considered as obtained through the chief executive.

‘The chief executive did call and speak with the Chief Minister and he spoke to Assistant Chief Minister [Richard] Buchanan about the NED [non-executive director] role. He also called the Deputy Chief Minister but did not get an answer, though the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister had already spoken about the matter.

‘The chief executive has subsequently acknowledged, in the circumstances, it would have been appropriate to have spoken to ministers before the statement was shared widely to ensure they were in agreement.’

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