After many promises, on Monday 25 April six Legislators were appointed as members of the Register of Interests Standing Select Committee.
The new Committee will be chaired by Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool, and will include Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Julian Fraser, Junior Minister of Tourism, Hon. Archibald Christian, Junior Minister of Trade Hon. Marlon Penn, Sixth District Representative, Hon. Alvera Maduro-Caines, and First District Representative, Hon. Andrew Fahie.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith moved the Motion and explained that the Register of Interests Standing Select Committee will carry out and exercise all the functions stipulated under the Register of Interests Act, 2006.
The Register of Interests, which was created for legislators to state their personal interests, assets etc, but in 2012 Registrar of Interests, Victoreen Romney-Varlack during her appearance before a Standing Finance Committee announced that there is “no Register of Interests’ only a blank book.
At that time the Registrar told the Standing Finance Committee that members of the House of Assembly should be thankful that the Register was not a public document because if it were, there would be nothing to inspect, because she has a blank register book.
Romney-Varlack said that it has been four years since the Register of Interests Act has been brought into force and since the Registrar has been appointed; however, a standing select committee was not appointed to work with the Register. She explained that there cannot be a Register of Interests without a Standing Select Committee.
It was stated that the Standing Orders of the House of Assembly need to be amended and brought in line with the current Constitution, and until this is done, the standing select committee cannot be appointed and therefore she has no register.
Romney-Varlack said that successive throne speeches mentioned the amending of the Act to include senior public servants, and making it necessary for such civil servants to make declarations. However, it was noted that such inclusion would require that the Act be replaced or repealed.
It was even suggested that it would be great if a short term select committee was brought in, because the Registrar stressed that something needed to be done soon. She explained that failure to act would result in all of the relevant persons being seriously criticised at the end of the day.
The Register of Interests Act, 2007 was passed with amendment by the House of Assembly on the 27 December, 2007. The post of Registrar of Interests is provided for in Section 1 of the legislation.