More calls for nepotism, cronyism to become criminal offences

Political analyst Shalman Scott and Professor Trevor Munroe
A political analyst is of the view that Jamaica will continue to face challenges achieving economic gains unless strong action is taken to stamp out nepotism and cronyism in the public sector.
Shalman Scott made the comment while agreeing with a call for the acts to be criminal offences. 
"The fact of the matter is that what is common about whatever location you find nepotism and cronyism is that it seeks to create advantages for the leader and those of influence at the expense of the national interest and the rest of society, and so there should be punishment where people are found guilty of participating in nepotism and cronyism," he asserted. 
Mr. Scott, who was speaking with Radio Jamaica News on Tuesday, believes nepotism still negatively impacts the public sector because it has been ingrained in different spheres of society - politics, trade unions, and even churches - and it will continue to affect the country because of a lack of political will to stamp out the practice.
Gleaner columnist Reverend Peter Espeut on Monday advocated for legislation to make nepotism and cronyism in the public sector, a crime.
His call was later echoed by Professor Trevor Munroe, Executive Director of National Integrity Action (NIA), who argued Jamaica "ought to give very, very serious consideration to making that an offence" because "if you are appointing people to positions of authority based on friendships, based on party connections, and not on the basis of competence and experience, then that is a matter of public concern because it would likely result in us not getting value for money."
The calls follow the publication of two Integrity Commission reports on Petrojam which had strong allegations of cronyism and nepotism.
Similar allegations were also made following an investigation by the former Office of the Contractor General into the award of contracts through the constituency office of St. Ann South East Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna.

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