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Gov’t in ongoing talks about statutory boards, Premier says

Gov’t in ongoing talks about statutory boards, Premier says

There is an ongoing discussion within the National Unity Government administration about statutory boards and their formation, Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has said.
The territory’s leader indicated that applications have been received from persons wishing to serve on the BVI Tourist Board, which falls directly under his ministry.

“We had a shortlisting process and those members of the Tourist Board are now being interviewed. And I’ll soon be bringing them to Cabinet,” Dr Wheatley said at a press conference recently.

The Commission of Inquiry (COI) report recommended a review of statutory boards and suggested, among other things, that there should be a protocol for the appointment and removal of statutory board members, published and applicable to all such boards, which should be identified in the protocol itself.

But the Premier also reminded persons that the issue of statutory boards was a subject of discussion in other areas as well.

“It also forms part of the terms of reference for the Constitutional Review Commission as to whether a statutory boards commission is the appropriate thing to do. So we’ll be having ongoing conversations about boards,” Dr Wheatley stated.

The Premier also said there is already a reviewer in place to determine, among other things, whether the immediate-past VIP administration selected and even removed persons from these boards in the proper manner.

Recommendation B24 called for a review of statutory boards to determine the extent to which these boards were applying policies intended to promote good governance — such as a conflict-of-interest policy and a political interference policy — and the extent to which those boards follow a due diligence policy.

Dr Wheatley offered the assurance that his administration was in congruence with the terms of reference of the reviews that were taking place under the framework agreement signed with the United Kingdom for the implementation of COI-recommended reforms.

“But we agree with the principles that the boards should be independent and, of course, that they should not be subject to political interference [and] that we have to pay attention to conflict of interest,” the Premier said.

“We have to make sure that persons on boards have the experience and the skills necessary to be able to contribute to the boards,” he added. “We recognise we’ve had some challenges in those areas in the past and we want to be able to move forward in a different way.”

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