Miller calls for new approach to board selection

| 27/03/2019 | 33 Comments
Cayman News Service

Ezzard Miller sits as PAC chairman

(CNS): Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller, who is also Public Accounts Committee chairman, is calling for a different approach to appointing members to public sector boards, noting that government has been recycling the same old members for decades. In the PAC hearing last week, Miller said that the only reason why government was struggling to find people willing to serve as directors on statutory authority and core government boards was because they keep asking the same individuals, and have been appointing and re-appointing the same old faces for the last 20 years.

The issue was raised during the PAC meeting largely in relation to the problems associated with the Central Planning Authority, where the chair has served for close to a decade, despite being the owner of the largest hardware store and supplier of construction materials on Grand Cayman, raising issues of conflict that have never been addressed.

Speaking to CNS after the meeting, Miller said he did not accept that the conflicts on the CPA and other boards could not be addressed by casting a wider net. He dismissed claims by government officials that the size of the jurisdiction makes finding board members so challenging.

He believes government is missing out on at least one, if not two, generations of younger Caymanians who want to engage and contribute more in civic work because they are never asked to serve and appear to be overlooked because they are not politically connected.

The opposition leader said there is a much larger untapped pool of local professionals with a lot to offer. He said that when he has been asked to nominate individuals for commissions or boards in his position as leader of the opposition, he has never had any trouble finding people who are both willing and able to serve.

Claims by officials that they ‘cannot find people’ might be more accurately described as ‘not being able to find people they can unduly influence’, instead of looking for experienced or qualified individuals who would do the work without an eye on party politics, he said.

Going through a recruitment process and reaching out beyond the pool of those in the inner political circles or close friends of Cabinet members would improve the quality of membership across the many boards that support the public sector and core government, Miller said.

He believes that having an open recruitment process for many of the boards, where it is practical and appropriate, would result in a much better representation of the community on the various boards that underpin the function of government and various important authorities.

Advertising would also allow the relevant government agency to outline the competences needed and the monthly compensation or expenses available to those who serve. He said that if people were prepared to go through a more rigorous process, this would demonstrate their commitment to serve.

During the PAC hearing Miller noted that such a recruitment exercise had been conducted for the Conditional Release Board, and that Deputy Governor Franz Manderson had been surprised by the number and quality of responses after his office advertised for people to serve on that important board.

Miller said that the government should consider adopting that approach for more boards, and it may well result in more competent and experienced board members conducting the work in the interests of the wider community rather than on narrow political interests.

CNS has contacted the DG’s office about the process of recruitment for the Conditional Release Board. We asked Manderson whether or not that could serve as an example for other boards and a less political approach to selecting people to carry out this type of public service, and we are awaiting a response.

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Category: Government oversight, Politics

Comments (33)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It dosent matter to me who these members support, as long as they are intelligent and have Cayman at heart. Ive sat on many boards and see members sleeping while big decisions are being made. They don’t make a contribution whatsoever. Forget about them supporting the Government of the day, they usually don’t even remember who put them on the Boards.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Why do you expect the government to appoint people who do not support the government? These are political appointments. Ezzard would do the same if he was in charge, except he has no friends.

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  3. Calypso Girl says:

    Conditional release board don’t make us laugh Can the great Franz please explain his connection to the chairman and why we have some far right minions from overseas and former colleagues of his warming the seats of this board, who have little or no clue about who they are unleashing on the general public. pleaseeeee some of you people are so naive!

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    • Anonymous says:

      7:52 stop being jealous of success. The Board posts were advertised and the best persons selected. The Board has been very successful. With only a handfull of prisoners having to be recalled. I should know I work with the Board every day.

      I want to thank the current board members for applying and accepting membership on this important board. You have stood up and made the difficult decision to become part of the solution rather than easily posting negative comments on CNS .

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      • Anonymous says:

        Not true. I know someone who was WAY more qualified than half this Board. Nominated at same time as another person who advanced only because of their political affiliation and willingness to ‘follow directives’ aka be a yes man!

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        • Anonymous says:

          I sat on a board for 16 years and had the best attendance record. Bush came along and removed me and cronyism did the rest.

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          • Anonymous says:

            You think your attendance record was justification to dtay on? The best thing you have to sell us on yourself is, “I showed up”?

  4. Anonymous says:

    These boards make decisions that effect Caymanians every day most of the time they have more effects on our lives than the ministers

    The fact that they can stuff them full of donors and cronies
    We might not have overt corruption in the same manner as other jurisdictions but discrete institutional corruption is here in spades

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Mr. Miller for making sense of the nonsense that current and successive governments have continued to do for their own benefit and not for the genuine purpose of the boards. There is way too many conflict of interests! Another aspect of things that need to change but won’t under the current leadership! #2021sooncome

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  6. Anonymous says:

    But Ezzard never followed this procedure when he was a Member/Minister. He stuffed everything with his chosen few, especially North Siders like Harris.

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    • anonymous says:

      Not true — Harris was never appointed to a board by Mr. Miller, who has made a point of never appointing family members. Instead, many of the leaders in our communities today were appointed by him to boards, and got their start in leadership there.

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  7. Chris Johnson says:

    I completely agree with Ezzard on this. He is right it is always the same guys on these boards and there is a prejudice towards born Caymanians if you look around. I am all in favour of bringing in the younger set and people like Garth Arch who has stood out over the years. Let us not forget the retirees who are born here or paper ones. I am not saying they have nothing to do but retired lawyers, bankers, architects,hbuilders and accountants can bring a lot to the table and are more than happy to keep putting back into the community. There is also an abundance of retired civil servants who share the same thoughts. All these talents should not be overlooked.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Its always the same recycled people because CIG knows who they can rely on to disregard law in favour of the ruling class. Even if they didn’t have a clue isn’t that a sign they are an ineffective Board? But yet no removals. Ezzard is saying the right thing but nothing will change.

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      • Chris Johnson says:

        I think the real problem is will board members ask questions and make enquiries as to the business. This is no different than being directors of hedge funds. Many of these guys will not ask too many questions because they then get fired.

        A big example is CIFA when the directors had no balls( excuse the pun) to ask what the flick was going on. Now you wonder where the money went.

        As I said earlier there are great local people wishing to serve the community, young and old.

        The answer is dead simple. That is a data base. The cig can advertise for all those interested to put their names forward . The cig can sift through them and determine their suitability.

        Now before you give me the thumbs down please give me a counter argument that makes sense. I am happy to debate but please no personal remarks.

        We are all here to make positive suggestions for Cayman in going forward.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Until the government commits to eradicating corruption of all forms, and adopts the SIPL we are doomed to repeat. They all talk the talk, until they are elected, then it is silent. We have yet to see justice for the paving of driveways for votes, a public scandal swept under the rug.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Very interesting.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    If you think about it, how does one qualify to sit on a board? Right now no qualifications are required. So why not make it more objective? Design a qualification framework around e.g. years of experience in a relevant field, years of experience in anther profession, basic education, relevant higher education, ability to offer the hours required, and extra points for clear absence of conflicts of interest.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Equally important: exclusions. Eg the planning board might (should?) exclude anyone in the development, realtor, construction or building supply businesses.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Main qualification for planning board seems that you have to be Dart compliant.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You people make me sick. Mr Dart has done so many great things for the Cayman Islands and everyone should thank him and the Unity Team for getting us the great position we are in now.

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      • Anonymous says:

        In the Brac the chair person don’t have a clue about passing building plans, when ask what size blocks, how many and size steel rods needed etc, he says it depends on the contractor what he wants to do.If its left to the contractor, what’s in place for the inspector to inspect.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Are we entering an Ezzard Miller renaissance? If you asked me 2 years ago, I would have said we had nothing in common except a love of beach access. But in the last 4 to 6 months I have been agreeing with him nearly all the time.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Me too and thats scary

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      • Anonymous says:

        We need Ezzard back at the hospital with 90 Doctors employed and seems like none on call. Crazy, crazy, crazy. Years back if you were admitted on ward and your condition got worst the very same Doctor who was attending you could be called out to check you but now seems like anyone who is not familiar with your illness re sometimes called when you are very serious and you have to be very serious at that. A downward trend that needs to be fixed.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Forget it Ezzard as the CPA chair and his associates ain’t going anywhere.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    If one of the attractive criteria in a “bought Yes vote” is the Cabinet member’s family or high school relation to the Board Member, then it can really limit your universe of choices. I mean, how many relatives and cousins do you think these guys have?!? Disgusting.

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