30 July, 2010
Appointments Commission: Following on from the last few posts, the fourth feature we would expect to find in a system of government that boasts integrity in the public service is an Appointments’ Commission. Such a Commission would vet political appointments to boards and committees. It would be protected by the Constitution and by legislation and would be independent of political interference.
At present in our territories we have a “winner takes all” system of appointments to boards, committees and commissions. Immediately a new government is elected, their first order of business is to share out the various directorships among the principal supporters of the new ministers. We watch them, at every change of administration, as they dismantle the Social Security Board, the Public Utilities Board, the Public Health Board, the Tourist Board, the Carnival Committee, even the Poor Law Board. We say they are “enjoying the fruits of office”. This makes a mockery of the whole notion of good governance. The public generally accepts this process as a normal state of affairs, but they sneer under their breath at all politicians.
This unregulated system has got to be stopped. Why can we not take a leaf out of the British book and have all appointments vetted by an independent, constitutionally protected body, to ensure that Ministers appoint only qualified persons to these positions? If the objection is cost, we can combine these duties with those of the Ombudsman or someone similar.