Sun | Mar 18, 2018

Nepotism goes both ways

Published:Saturday | April 8, 2017 | 12:00 AM


For more than a year, the People's National Party (PNP) has been clamouring for renewal and new leadership, which they have been granted in the form of former minister of finance, Dr Peter Phillips.

Since the changing of the guard, several promises have been made and changes guaranteed. However, Michael Manley's legacy must be cautious not to fall into the very pit that tricked them twice.

Just days after being sworn in as the leader of the Opposition, Peter Phillips has hit the ground running, naming the National Land Ownership Commission, which, according to the PNP's general secretary, Julian Robinson, is to be chaired by Norman Minott. A chess move considering the stench in the air surrounding squatter settlements and, of course, property tax issues.

However, the Comrade Leader ought to be mindful of making rookie mistakes, especially concerning the appointments of committees, particularly so since opposition spokesperson on culture and gender affairs, Lisa Hanna, recently lashed out at alleged instances of nepotism occurring under the watch of the minister of culture, Olivia Grange.




Norman Minott, a partner at the Myers, Fletcher & Gordon law firm, has expertise in real estate law and currently heads the property department. While Scott has indeed served on several boards and has held the office of chairman for both the Urban Development Commission and the Municipal Services Commission, his recent appointment does leave a bitter taste, considering that the wife of the newly appointed leader is also a partner at said firm.

To have the first body established by the newly elected president being headed by a lifelong co-worker and friend, irrespective of expertise, does craft the image of nepotism in the mind of the innocent bystander, particularly on the heels of a heated debate in Parliament where nepotism was bashed so openly.

The use-who-we-know ideology is still nepotism in nature, and if we plan to package ourselves as renewed, we ought to make unmistakable steps towards transparency.

For this reason, I am against the appointment of Minott, not because he in unqualified or because it is wrong, but because it can be seen as wrong. If this is any indication of the renewal that was promised, the proceeding steps are very much guided along a path of continued traditions.