Government has not appointed any members to the Climate Change Trust Fund Board since the membership of all six previous appointees was revoked on April 24.
Premier Andrew Fahie told the Beacon on Saturday that nothing further has been done since then.
Mr. Fahie has said previously that Cabinet revoked the memberships because of a new policy under which the boards of all government committees and statutory bodies will have a tenure mirroring the “life span” of the government in power.
He has also said that all such bodies will be appointed new members and that the action was not specific to any one entity.
But in the case of the climate fund, the board’s enabling legislation does not appear to grant Cabinet the authority for such a sweeping move.
Section 16 of the Climate Change Trust Fund Act states that with Cabinet approval the minister overseeing the fund — who in this case is Mr. Fahie — may revoke a board member’s appointment for specific reasons: misconduct, absenteeism, a conflict of interest, failure to fulfil the conditions of appointment, or acting in a way that is “detrimental to the trust.”
Mr. Fahie told the Beacon on May 6 that some original members would be allowed to serve on the new boards but that their membership would extend only as long as the current administration is in power.
Asked about the legality of revoking the trust fund’s board, he wrote in a message at the time that the “issue is well at hand and that will be advanced in due course,” but did not elaborate further and would not say when a new board would be appointed.
Governor Gus Jaspert declined to comment on the decision at a press conference on May 23. But he did point out that the decision was made by Cabinet, and that while he is chair of Cabinet he does not have a vote and refrains from commenting on the discussions in order to preserve the principles of frank and open exchange.
He added that the attorney general provides legal advice to Cabinet but does not have a vote, and that it is up to the elected members to decide how to proceed after they have heard the attorney general’s advice.
“It would be inappropriate of me to share the points that individuals make in those discussions,” he said. “The ultimate decision is the collective decision. On this issue it’s really a question for the premier on his views on that, but as a general thing the law must always be applied. In any matter.”
Ed Childs, the former chairman of the Climate Change Trust Fund Board, told the Beacon yesterday that he had not heard anything further on the situation.