The New Today


Terrible acts of the past administration

Permit me a space in your widely read newspaper to share some thoughts on the appointment of members to boards, committees and commissions in the public sector by the new Administration.

Firstly, I’d like to congratulate the Hon. Dickon Mitchell, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance for the visionary approach in opening up the appointments to professionals locally and in the Diaspora.

For much too long, these organs of the state have been stacked with party hacks, sycophants, and stooges whose sole purpose was to collect their fees, eat the finger foods provided at meetings, bring news on other Board members and staff to their benefactors, and block support to persons whom they perceived to be not supportive of their political party.

Many of them attended board meetings unprepared and could not contribute to anything meaningful on any issues for board consideration.

The new approach not only supports good governance but will undoubtedly contribute to the financial and operational improvement of these institutions.

I would like to strongly encourage the new Government to ring in the new appointments. Two months on, and several key boards are yet to be reconstituted. The government must move speedily to ensure that statutory boards, etc, are appropriately constituted and fit for purpose.

The recent appointments to the CBI Committee and the GRENLEC Board sparked some reactions by the media and other interest groups/individuals, with talk of nepotism and conflict of interest.

I found this quite amusing. Not because I condone nepotism or other forms of corruption. I was amused because some of the same persons who sat by in deafening silence have now found their voices.

Not a word was uttered while the former chairperson of the NIS Investment Committee, held the post illegally for years drawing thousands of dollars.

The NIS Act is clear on who should chair the NIS Investment Committee. Part III Section 18 of the NIS Act states and I quote,…..”the members to be appointed by the Minister (Social Security) as follows: (a) an officer of the Ministry of Finance nominated by the Minister of Finance, which officer shall be appointed chairperson.”

The former Chairperson was not an officer of the Ministry of Finance. She was kept on as Chair even after resigning her post at the Ministry of Finance. Where were certain elements in the media when the individual, allegedly the lover of the former Prime Minister, was serving as chairperson of the NIS Investment Committee?

Why did the officials in the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Finance not advise the former Ministers of Finance and Minister of Health that they were engaged in nepotism and corruption of the highest order, if they were not aware?

Where was the NIS on this issue? How could this have gone on without a word? What does that mean for the decisions made during her tenure?

I am calling on the journalists in this country to research the matter. We the people ought to know the truth about the use or misuse of public funds at the NIS. If indeed any wrong was committed, the money is refunded.

The public must demand the repayment of the board fees that were illegally pocketed by the individual or the individuals who are responsible for her appointment.

In closing, while the new Administration should never repeat the terrible acts of the past Administration, the NNP as a party in opposition and its surrogates have lost the moral authority and decency to speak of nepotism and conflict of interest and the like. Bite your tongues when such matters come up!

Love of Country