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PSOJ calls for fast-tracking of public-sector boards accountability framework

Published:Saturday | August 5, 2017 | 12:00 AM

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) has renewed its call for the Government to fast-track proposed changes to the appointment and structure of public-sector boards.

According to PSOJ President Paul Scott, the need for this change is important, in light of the recent controversy surrounding the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) board.

"If Jamaica is serious about accountability, and avoiding the controversies surrounding board decisions, which is not only a distraction but also can serve to damage persons reputations or result in incorrect decisions, then it is important that we have all public-sector boards immediately roll out the Public Sector Corporate Governance framework, and bring greater transparency and independence to the appointment of board members," said Scott.

"The PSOJ is cognisant of the need for the Government to be able to appoint persons to boards who will safeguard their policy decisions, and this should include the chairman of most boards. However, all appointees should be appropriately trained in corporate governance and there should be a certain cadre of independent directors on all boards," added Scott.




He noted that immediately after the 2016 general election, the PSOJ recommended that proper corporate governance practices and measures to support board continuity be applied.

The PSOJ had called for the full implementation of the Corporate Governance Framework for Public Bodies (CGF), and the Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act, across public-sector bodies; Corporate Governance training and certification for all public-sector board appointments.

In addition, the PSOJ had recommended that a cadre of independent directors be appointed to all public-sector boards; and periodic rotation of one third of the board and no full replacement of all board members after general elections.

"These measures would provide for greater transparency, accountability and trust in public-sector boards by the public," said Scott.

He argued that the changes would also ensure that there would be continuity of boards, so that decisions are not delayed, as is usually the case whenever there is a general election, where organisations can see important decisions being delayed, from the point at which elections are called to when a new board is appointed.

"This practice has caused decisions by public-sector bodies to be in limbo for up to six months, until a board is appointed. If we are serious about development and growth, then this is a critical matter that must be addressed," added Scott.

The PSOJ is therefore calling on the Government to fast-track the proposed changes to be made to how public boards are appointed and the accountability framework within which they operate.