The minister said this was one of the reasons for the policy of the government that statutory boards would not exceed the terms of the ruling government.
“The possibility of that happening is real. There is evidence of this,” he said to the attorney to the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) Mr Bilal M. Rawat, during his evidence to the CoI on Wednesday, September 8, 2021.
Mr Rawat had asked, “That is the underlying reason behind the policy, isn’t it, that what you did not want was to end up as ministers with boards that frustrated your mandate?”
“I think every minister would have that concern. These Boards are supposed to be autonomous; you are hoping that the mandate you have is shared by the Board, but it is a risk that it might not be shared the way you think it is going to be shared. The aim is to reduce that risk as much as possible. You don’t want yes men or yes women either.”
Commissioner Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom then asked, “Under this policy, any new administration not just yours, all board members are replaced?”
Honourable Wheatley replied that this was one of the options available under the government policy regarding boards. In some cases, a few members would be replaced, in other cases, no members are replaced, and the third option would be to change the entire Board.
“In our context, I don’t see any real reason to change every board member now, but maybe in another context or something, it may be the wise thing to do. What this does is it gives you the option of standing the best chance of achieving your mandate,” Hon Wheatley stated.