Persons appointed to statutory boards should instead face a more stringent and transparent process that should involve elections.
This was the sentiment expressed yesterday by Daniel Fligelstone Davies — an attorney-at-law and cohost of The Situation Room radio programme.
Commission of Inquiry (COI) recommendations released in a report earlier this year suggested that there should be a wholesale review of the way statutory board appointments are done.
But Fligelstone Davies felt officials should go even further than the steps that have been outlined in those recommendations and perhaps mirror an approach taken by other jurisdictions.
“With respect to statutory boards, my view is that they should be elected positions for the most part,” Fligelstone Davies said.
“Statutory boards ought to be subject to an election in the same way that they are in the US and USVI and yes, you can have criteria; a vetting process to see whether or not someone is qualified for a particular position on a board or not,” he stated.
Fligelstone Davies drew reference to the posts of judges and magistrates in the United States as examples of those elected positions.
And while agreeing that statutory board posts can be advertised and applications submitted for those posts, Fligelstone Davies suggested the public should be better informed of the process involved after those submissions are made.
“There should be a criteria, a clear criteria and an explained process as to how appointments happen and various stages that one could expect once turning in your application,” he added.
As part of the ongoing COI reforms, the territory is currently undergoing a review of all statutory boards to determine, among other things, the extent to which those boards are applying policies intended to promote good governance such as conflict of interest policy and a political interference policy.
With regard to recommendation B28, the report suggested there should be a protocol for the appointment and removal of statutory board members, published and applicable to all such boards, which should be identified in the protocol itself.
The report said the protocol should be based on the principles of good governance, so that appointments and revocations of appointments are based on clearly expressed and published criteria.
“It should, therefore, include provision (e.g.) for advertisement of posts, appropriate application forms, appropriate checks, interviews before a panel including independent members, restricted circumstances in which the executive cannot proceed with the panel’s recommendation, and the rights to an independent appeal in appropriate cases,” the report recommended.
Importantly, the report said, it should not be necessary for the protocol to include any residual ministerial discretionary powers.