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What is an independent director on a state board?

01 Oct 2015 8:00 AM | Administrator

By CCGI in T&T Business Guardian

Over the next few weeks, a sizeable number of appointments to State Boards will have continue to be made by the new administration. More than 1,000 positions are needed to be filled. These appointments to State Boards require persons with the right credentials and there is a very small pool of qualified candidates.  

One of the questions that has arisen during the appointment process has been the issue associated with independence. This has been caused principally by the appointment of a former independent senator as Chairman of the boards to oversee the operations of the Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG) and the Government Information Services Ltd (GISL). Many commentators, political analysts, politicians, and citizens have weighed in on the appropriateness of appointing sitting or former Independent Senators to these state organizations. 

The differences of opinion may be explained by partisanship and personal persuasions of each of the speakers, but the comments expose different levels of understanding regarding the role of independence on the board.  For example, Mrs. Kamla Persad Bissessar, Leader of the Opposition, in her appointment speech on September 21 said that “Public displays of apparent independence should not be used as a mask for political activism”,  Dr. Winford James, political analyst, commenting to the media on September 22 stated that “Drayton now appears to be politically tainted and her past contributions as an independent senator would now be scrutinized” and Mr. Vasant Bharath, Opposition Senator on September 20 stated that Mrs Dayton was an “excellent choice. Helen Drayton is a woman of great integrity and she has a significant amount of competence and she comes from a background where she understands communications and she understands people”. This article discusses the nature of independence on the board and addresses many of the issues currently being raised and addresses many of the issues raised.

What is independence ?

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