Wed | May 27, 2020

Letter of the Day | Move away from cronyism and nepotism

Published:Wednesday | July 11, 2018 | 12:00 AM


As news of the scandal-hit state agency Petrojam circulates, it is puzzling how such a young person like Floyd Grindley (age 38) was appointed general manager of Petrojam, Jamaica's state-run petroleum refinery. Amid the reports of corruption, nepotism, cronyism, and questionable spending, it came as no surprise that Grindley agreed to step down, becoming the fourth casualty (to date) of this saga.

Contrary to what some may say, I'm a firm believer that age does have limits. Responsibility to a large extent, comes with experience and growth. Likewise, I also believe that persons well beyond retirement age should lessen full-time work responsibilities, as the body and mind does begin to slow down at certain points in life.

Even with 16 years' experience, Grindley's youth and lack of professional degrees beyond an undergraduate degree from UWI would've raised questions and concerns. According to The Gleaner, Mr Grindley was recognised in Alabama, USA, as one of the top 40 progressive professionals under 40 years old in that state. But Alabama is not Jamaica, and the key word is 'progressive'.




It is unfortunate that an agency of this size, importance and significant budget is hit with such scandals. It reflects badly on the prime minister and his government. Why is it necessary, for instance, to appoint a chairman to lead the board, if he lives in Maryland, USA? The chairman, Dr Bahadoo-Singh, also had questionable reimbursements, some of which, we understand, he has already repaid.

We must be very cautious when appointing persons to head large agencies which come with a lot of responsibilities, including budgets. If we focused more on ability, qualifications, skill and experience, with less emphasis on alliance and political ties, we might be better able to control corruption in public agencies and get the job done more efficiently and effectively.

P. Chin