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Reform public boards to curb corruption

Published:Monday | June 5, 2017 | 12:00 AM


In light of Jamaica slipping down the international rankings in terms of corruption, there are two basic steps that are not difficult to implement which should be immediately undertaken and which both sides of the political divide should agree upon.

1. Boards of directors of Government of Jamaica companies and statutory bodies should have no more than 10 members, where the chairman and three members are selected by the governing party, but three members are also selected by the Opposition and three by civil society to reduce corruption and ensure continuity in case of a change of government. When governments change, the only immediate change will be the chairman, who would automatically resign and a new chairman named within a month by the new minister.

Furthermore, no public-sector board should have an executive chairman, as this puts too much power in the hands of one individual and the possibility for checks and balances is reduced.

2. All public-sector bodies, including public-sector companies and statutory bodies, must publicise quarterly reports on their operations and accounts as is done for public companies on the stock exchange. This should be done on their websites, which should be updated regularly. These reports should provide information on the achievements of the body over the past quarter (financial, projects or tasks, personnel changes and any other critical happenings), as well as plans and targets for the next quarter.