Volunteers sought for Commission for Standards in Public Life

Governor Martyn Roper has put a call out for volunteers to join the Commission for Standards in Public Life, which monitors the standards of behaviour of senior public officers.

The governor issued an invitation on Tuesday for expressions of interest from Caymanians in joining the commission, which was established five years ago.

The tenures of the commission’s chair Rosie Whittaker-Myles and member Sheenah Hislop, who have both been with the body since 2015, are coming to an end. The commission currently has one other member, Isatou Smith, who was appointed in 2018 for a four-year period.

In inviting expressions of interests, the release stated, “Individuals who would fit the profile of these memberships (Chairman and 3 Members) include persons who are civic-minded, demonstrate the ability to be measured, fair, and politically neutral, and are regarded by their peers/members of the community as maintaining the highest standards of integrity, willingness to advocate for the cause and educate the general public.”

Under the requirements outlined for the commission in the Constitution, appointed individuals must have knowledge of practice in the private or public sector. At least one member of the commission must be a chartered or certified accountant with at least 10 years’ experience and at least one member must be a legal practitioner who has practised in the Commonwealth for a minimum of 10 years.

Sitting members of the Legislative Assembly cannot be part of the commission. Also, under the Constitution, anyone who has held a public office within the preceding three years or anyone who has held office in a political party in the preceding five years cannot be a member.

Membership of the commission is only open to Caymanians.

Appointments to the commission are made by the governor, after consultation with the premier and leader of the opposition, for a renewable term of four years.

According to the release, the voluntary appointments require individuals to contribute approximately 10-20 hours a month of service, with the chairman sometimes serving longer hours.

“Members of the Commission receive a small stipend for their service,” the release noted.

“The Commission for Standards in Public Life is an extremely valuable resource in the advancement of good governance. Now that the Standards in Public Life Law has commenced, this Commission has the ability to function at a very high level especially as it relates to reducing conflicts of interest,” the governor stated in the release. “Whilst individuals who serve on the Commission have successful and fulfilling careers, they find…  it also incredibly rewarding to give back to the community.”

The Standards in Public Life Law outlines the functions of the commission as follows:

  • To assist in the setting of the highest standards of integrity and competence in public life in order to ensure the prevention of corruption or conflicts of interest;
  • To monitor standards of ethical conduct in the Legislative Assembly, the Cabinet, and on the part of public authorities and public officers;
  • To supervise the operation of the Register of Interests and to investigate breaches of established standards;
  • To review and establish procedures for awarding public contracts; e. to review and establish procedures for appointing members to public authorities, and the terms of their appointment;
  • To recommend codes of conduct to prevent any minister, public authority or public officer employing their power for any personal benefit or advantage, and to recommend legislation to provide appropriate sanctions;
  • To report to the Legislative Assembly at regular intervals, and at least every six months; and
  • To exercise such other functions as may be prescribed by this or any other law enacted by the legislature.

Expressions of interest or a request for additional information can be made via email to [email protected] For more information on the commission, visit www.standardsinpubliclifecommission.ky.

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