General Manager of the state-owned National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA), Christopher Husbands is now the new Chairman of the Board of Directors of another state body, the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
The announcement was made Tuesday by Minister of Health, and Social Security, Nickolas Steele during the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing at the Ministerial Complex in the Botanical Gardens.
Minister Steele also told reporters that medical doctor, Dr. Bert Brathwaite, a strong supporter of the ruling New National Party (NNP) government will serve as Deputy Chairman of the NIS Board.
Husbands is considered to be closely aligned to NNP and is also a Member of the Board of Directors of the state-operated Grenada Airports Authority (GAA).
Minister Steele told reporters that although former Chairman Ron Antoine gave commendable service during his tenure on the board, the new Chair and his Deputy are needed at the board as they come with wealth of experiences.
“As we move forward with NIS having an involvement in National Health Insurance (NHI), I felt there was a need to have a medical doctor there and that is why Dr. Bert Brathwaite is there and Mr. Christopher Husbands has significant experience in Finance – Masters in Finance and we have decided to try him out”, he said.
Speculation is rife in some quarters that relations might be somewhat strained at this moment between Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and some members of the Antoine family following in the lead up to the just-ended general elections.
Caricom Ambassador, Dr. Patrick Antoine who was a key figure on the NNP platform in the 2013 campaign was noticeable absent in the 2018 campaign.
Minister Steele used the opportunity “to recognise the yeoman service that was given by the previous government representatives on the NIS board, in the form of Mr. Ron Antoine who served as Chair and also and in particular our dear friend who I think has given a lifetime of service, Mr. Ashton Frame.
He said: “Mr. Ron Antoine has provided exemplary service in NIS and I would expect him to provide exemplary service wherever called upon”.
Minister Steele also commented on the 2-year term of office of the Chairman of NIS and labelled it as too short for anyone in the position.
“I think we need to look at that and I leave it to the board. The board is composed of other stakeholders who choose within the law, the maximum term limits…but I think it’s time we consider a staggered replacement of individuals at NIS. So, I look forward to having that discussion with the other stakeholders which are Labour and the Employer’ Federation…”, he said.
The other members to serve on the newlook NIS board are representative of Labour, Kenny James and Bert Patterson, as well as Benedict Brathwaite and Lennox Andrews representing the Employers Federation, and Manager of NIS, Alfred Logie.
The main function of the Board of Directors of the NIS is to manage the funds of the state-run scheme.