BTB Says Former Director's Contract Invalid
There is a new interim director of Tourism at the BTB tonight - he is Evan Tillett, Chairman of the Board of Directors - also the man the PUP had pencilled in for the post when the government changed.
But when they got in, they found that the current Director Karen Bevans had a hefty and airtight five year contract signed in 2019 and worth in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. For months, the PUP groused about it - but knew they couldn't do much because the contract had a costly termination clause: if she was terminated "without cause" the BTB would have to pay Bevans 3 year's worth of salary - more than half a million dollars. And on February 27th, the Chairman confirmed her contract was valid and active:
Evan Tillet - Chairman, BTB
"The director is still working, the contract is still valid. And so we have a lot of things to achieve at the BTB in terms of rebuilding the industry."
But, then, suddenly, she was terminated on Friday and 7News has learned that it was "without cause".
But that's because - in a stunner - the BTB's Chairman Evan Tillett reversed his stated position; he claims in her letter of termination that she DID NOT have a valid contract.
The termination letter says that though her contract was signed by the former chairman and another director, quote, "it was never presented to the board for approval, nor was it approved by the board in violation of the BTB act..."
The letter goes unto say, "our records show that the minister did not approve your continued appointment, your remuneration, nor the terms and conditions of your employment. We are accordingly advised that your contract did not come into being in law, is not enforceable and the board is not bound to abide by its terms." End quote.
That's a bombshell - and the board then also concludes that she is not entitled to compensation upon termination. With that, she was terminated with immediate effect and offered 1 year in salary and allowances as an ex gratia payment.
So, no contract, no problem - except we are told Bevans did not accept the 1 year ex gratia payment - and has already retained an attorney to take the BTB to court for her full compensation. Her attorney is expected to be former Prime Minister Dean Barrow.