Three statutory bodies get new leadership

The content originally appeared on: The BVI Beacon

The boards overseeing three statutory bodies have been replaced in recent weeks, bringing new leadership to the BVI Ports Authority, the BVI Airports Authority, and the BVI Tourist Board, according to a summary of Cabinet proceedings published last Thursday in the government Gazette.

The move follows the Commission of Inquiry’s recent criticism of board appointment processes and recommendations to review all statutory bodies and establish a protocol for appointing and removing board members.

On Aug. 29 Cabinet approved the appointment of Roxane Ritter-Herbert as BVIPA chairwoman for a period of three years effective the same day. Along with her, David Penn will serve on the board for three years; Hermia Tench and Kedreana Parson for two years each; and former police commissioner Michael Matthews and Asiyah Grant for one year each.

At the BVIAA, Theodore Burke was appointed the new non-executive chairman for three years effective Aug. 31, and with him are Michael Thomas as non-executive director for a period of three years, and Susan Daly, Kevin Fahie and Selvyn Dawson for two years each.

At the BVITB, Delma Maduro will sit as the chairman for a period of four years from Sept. 1, Cabinet decided during a Sept. 2 meeting.

Ms. Maduro is joined by Henry Prince, Andrew Ball, Keshia Davis Barnes, Gregory Call- wood, Dorcas Fahie, Oren Hodge, Shamora Penn Maduro, Allan Parker, Miles Sutherland-Pilch and Lorraine Wheatley. All were appointed to serve for the same four-year period.

COI criticism

The move comes after appointment practices came under fire in the COI report published in late April following the Miami arrest of former premier Andrew Fahie on allegations of conspiracy to traffic drugs and launder money.

A COI report recommendation suggests that the governor consider “whether it is necessary for any appointments to statutory boards made since 2019 to be revoked.”

The National Unity Government formed under Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley in May later committed to addressing this advice: The NUG reform framework published in June commits to replacing statutory boards members where it is in the “public interest” to do so; establishing a Statutory Boards Commission; reviewing all statutory boards; and establishing a framework for all such boards, among other related measures.

As part of those efforts, former complaints commissioner Sheila Braithwaite was appointed in July to lead a review of all statutory boards to determine metrics including their compliance with financial obligations; the extent to which they apply good-governance measures; and the extent to which they follow a due-diligence policy, among others.

Her appointment — which was due by July 31 — was announced on July 22, and her report is due Dec. 31.

Separately, the NUG’s self-determined deadline for Cabinet to appoint a senior jurist or “reputable attorney” to review guidelines for statutory board appointments was Sept. 1. This reviewer’s report is also due by Dec. 31.

Former boards

Shortly after taking office as premier in May, Dr. Wheatley announced the appointment expirations and resignations of all the board members of the BVIPA and BVIAA.

At the BVIPA, that included Chairman Kelvin Hodge’s resignation and appointment expirations for Roxane Sylvester, Keith Flax, Vincent Wattley and Patsy Lake.

At the BVIAA, the changes included the appointment expirations of Chairman Bevis Sylvester, Ms. Lake, Mr. Hodge and Marlon Chocoutou, as well as the resignation of Nathaniel Isaac.

Dr. Wheatley said at the time that the boards weren’t being dismantled because of any “knowledge of wrongdoing by the most recent membership.”

He added that appointing people to multiple statutory boards wasn’t good practice.