JIS News

Information and Development Minister, Senator Colin Campbell, has explained that the proposal put forward by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to have members of the clergy sit on, or chair the Boards of state companies or statutory bodies, is geared towards strengthening accountability and probity.
The Minister, who was speaking to journalists yesterday (April 3), at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing, sought to clarify the Prime Minister’s proposal of appointing men and women of the cloth to sit on Boards as members.
“It is merely that the whole issue of accountability and probity in public life has been the subject of some concern among the public, and the Prime Minister has decided as a strategy to ensure that persons who are involved in the church can sit on Boards, so that they will have an eye for issues of accountability and probity,” Senator Campbell explained.
“The Prime Minister is of the view that it would strengthen the Boards in terms of having the ability to pay attention to certain matters which we know have been at large in public discussions,” he added.
Senator Campbell told journalists that in the selection process, “you would see the appropriateness of any person that you would invite to be a member of a Board and there is a wide range of people involved in church life that could be suitable”.
Board members, he said, did not necessarily have to be limited only to the clergy. “They could also be from the laity, so therefore it’s not purely that the qualifications you would bring to the Board is being a member of the clergy.It is not intended to be that way but we believe that the fact that they are members of the church and they are steeped in a certain discipline, it would assist the Boards to pay a little more attention to probity and accountability,” the Minister said.
Senator Campbell told journalists that Prime Minister Simpson Miller’s decision to include members of the clergy in governmental affairs formed a part of her mandate to forge partnerships in a number of areas, which he said, included “the whole return to family and the issue of having a proper re-orientation of communities”.
“I don’t think we need to see this issue as purely bringing in religious practitioners or pastors on Boards. I think you have to look to the wider issue of social partnerships and partnerships that the Prime Minister will forge in order to bring about a better quality of life in order to deal with the issues that have arisen,” the Information Minister added.
In respect of the life span of Boards, Senator Campbell said that, “as is the case with all change of Ministers and change of administration, Boards offer resignations”.
He noted, however, that all Boards have been extended for a period of two months, during which the composition of those Boards would be reviewed, and where new appointments are necessary, then the appointments would be made within that time frame.