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Phillips wants PSC to have oversight responsibility for public bodies

Friday, August 17, 2018

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OPPOSITION Leader Dr Peter Phillips has called for an urgent review of the present governance arrangements, especially in light of the recent developments in Jamaica's public sector.

Speaking on issues of governance and accountability, Dr Phillips advanced a series of recommendations to strengthen and secure the integrity of public bodies as he addressed the Caribbean Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions' 30th Anniversary Conference at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel Wednesday.

The Opposition leader said that the Public Service Commission (PSC) must be given general oversight responsibility with respect to the functioning of public bodies to ensure that the procedures for appointment and termination of staff are in keeping with the principles enshrined in the Constitution and made explicit in appropriate legislation.

“The Public Service Commission was provided for with the objective of having an independent body of public servants insulated from partisan political bias,” he said.

The commission, he said, should also play a guardianship role with respect to the selection and appointment of heads of the public bodies.

“It is our view that there should be agreement, not mere consultation, between the prime minister and the leader of the opposition as to whom should chair the Commission,” Dr Phillips said.

He added that for further effectiveness, members of the Public Service Commission should be selected from a slate of candidates agreed on between the prime minister and the leader of the opposition. The trade unions, representing the workers, should preserve their right to name a member of the commission, he said.

He said, too, that the Public Service Commission should be selected for a period of seven years, thereby severing the link between the tenure of the life of the commission and the normal tenure of the life of the political administration.

He said, however, that the operations and tenure of the Public Service Commission may require constitutional amendment.

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