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Gleaner Editors' Forum | Competence over confidence

Published:Thursday | September 6, 2018 | 12:00 AMBrian Walker/Staff Reporter
Greta Bogues, chairperson of Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Corporate Governance Standing Committee
Gail Moss Solomon, general counsel of GraceKennedy

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) believes that competence should supersede confidence when public-board appointments are being made.

The composition and efficacy of boards have commanded renewed attention in light of public administration issues related to the former Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology and its agencies.

"The question that concerns me more is that this particular Cabinet approved competency profiles that are required for the appointment of a chairman, appointment of directors. They approved it. This was done after wide consultation within both private and public sectors, but yet still the recent appointments are not reflecting what they have approved," said Greta Bogues, chairperson of the PSOJ's Corporate Governance Standing Committee.

Bogues made the point during a Gleaner Editors' Forum held yesterday at the company's North Street, Kingston, office.

The PSOJ welcomes the proposed changes to regulations for public-board appointments announced by Dr Nigel Clarke, minister of finance and the public service, which will depoliticise the appointment process and ensure greater stability in policy execution.

Clarke pointed out that transparency, diversity, and continuity would form the guiding philosophy for appointments going forward. However, Bogues believes that it is time for action.

She asserted: "This is why it comes back for me - the whole issue of having all these (pieces of) legislation, regulations, policies, guidelines - but we have to ensure that the leadership at the top is implementing, and we have a responsibility, the media have a responsibility, to hold people accountable."

Gail Moss Solomon, general counsel of GraceKennedy, concurred with Bogues, adding that poor accountability has become embedded in Jamaican society.

"We have fallen down in terms of us as individuals holding people accountable and then as a society holding people accountable, and then at the highest levels having this raft of legislation and policies, but then they have no teeth and lack enforcement."