Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, tabled the Public Bodies Management and Accountability (Nomination, Selection and Appointment to Boards) Regulations, 2020 on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 in the House of Representatives. In addition to being consistent with the Corporate Governance Framework and vision of 2011, the legislation now provides for strong representation of both genders on the Board of each Public Body.
The proposed legislation now states that the total membership of the board of any public body shall comprise a minimum of 30 percent male and 30 percent female. The provision of a minimum gender representation requirement is consistent with global best practices, and furthers our national goals of diversity, and gender balance, where we can create a society in which women and men have equal opportunities to contribute to national development.
Dr. Clarke noted, “The Government of Jamaica through this proposed regulatory requirement is signalling the vital importance of gender equity in our society. Inclusion of sufficient numbers of women and men on all public body boards makes for a better Jamaica. The principles of public legitimacy, equality of opportunity, balanced decision-making and basic equity and fairness require this.”
The proposed regulations which benefited from the contribution and feedback from a wide cross section of stakeholders in the public, private and civil society sectors will also allow for the establishment of a secure, reliable and verified database of prospective directors; promote continuity through the compulsory reappointment of some members of an outgoing board; and require compulsory fit and proper testing for certain public boards.
The tabled regulations need to be passed in both Houses of Parliament before becoming effective.