Process going to take time

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 January, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 January, 1994, 12:00am

ON January 7, you reported that at Legco's Recreation and Culture Panel meeting the previous day, arts representatives were unhappy that the Arts Development Council (ADC) Working Group's draft ordinance for the future council did not include provisions for the future members of the council to be elected, and that the draft had retained the existing system of appointment by the Governor.

You then reported that I said that ''given the time constraints, it was very difficult to draft the electoral arrangements into law and that they could deal with the issue later''.

I believe your reporter may have misunderstood what I said. I would like to repeat in full what I said at the Legco meeting.

Hong Kong's existing system for membership to all the various advisory bodies and public authorities are by appointment.

It is understandable that the community should be questioning whether this system should continue as we move towards a more representative style of government.

Members of the arts community have certainly suggested on many occasions that they would like members to the ADC to be elected on a one-person-one-vote basis from among themselves. However, in order for credible elections to take place, the arts community will first have to agree on a system and to organise themselves in such a way that elections can take place.

This issue also has much wider implications. If ADC membership were to arise from such elections, then membership to all government advisory bodies should also arise from elections.

Whilst I personally agree that the Government should consider how to make its advisory system more representative, this process is going to take time.

In the meantime, the ADC itself must be set up in early 1995. For the purpose of drafting the necessary legislation to create the ADC, the working group felt that it was best to retain in the draft the existing appointment system at this time.

The ADC can and should provide a forum for the arts community to debate the issue.

Personally, I believe it may be more workable in the near future for the performing, visual and literary arts workers to agree on a list of representatives (which may arise from some election process to be organised by them) whom they feel can adequatelyrepresent their views at the ADC, and from among that list, the Governor can choose appointments to the council.

CHRISTINE LOH Legislative Councillor