Sunday 12 July, 2020

A view from the outside: The Peter Principle

File photo of Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips at a PNP rally.

File photo of Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips at a PNP rally.

With Karyl Walker

Peter, Peter the pumpkin eater had a girl and could not keep her

According to Wikipedia, the Peter Principle is a concept which observes that people in a hierarchy tend to rise to their level of incompetence. This is translated to mean an employee is promoted based on their success at other jobs until they reach a level which they are no longer competent as skills at one job do not necessarily translate to another.

Poor Dr Peter Phillips.

Recent polls have shown that despite him being the best performing minister in the last 30 years, he is just not suited to be the leader of his beloved People's National Party (PNP). The polls showed that the party is more popular with the people than he is.

Let's face it. While Pele is indisputably the 'king of football', he was not the best suited to captain Brazil.

Phillips did a phenomenal job as Minister of Health. His works as transport and works minister cannot be hidden under a bushel. Then he turned the country around as Minister of Finance.

What more can a man do?

In my estimation, Phillips has done his best.

But as soon as he is elected the leader of his party and taking aim at the prime minister's chair, things have gone south.

I would never like to sit in Phillips' hot seat right now.

My friend and journalistic colleague, Mark Wignall does not mince words. He is very fond of the work Phillips did as a minister but does not see him as prime ministerial material.

"He has been struck by the Peter Principle. Life is like that sometimes. Poor Peter," Wignall told me.

All this when the current road works being carried out  are as a result of the hard work Dr Peter Phillips put in. Give credit to the man. He has paid his dues. But somehow, it seems fate would have it that he will never be prime minister of our beloved Jamaica.

While Prime Minister Andrew Holness seems to be basking in the recent successes of two by-elections which has seen his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) gaining more ground in the House of Representatives, this country needs a vibrant opposition to keep the government honest.

It now seems that Peter is not the man for the job. Jamaica now needs someone at the helm of the opposition party that can remind the JLP that a race is on and, if they slip, they will slide.

But who in the PNP will be able to fill the breach?

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Damion Crawford is hugely popular but somehow he could not pull off a win in a constituency that was considered safe for the PNP. Julian Robinson has a steady head and is a great Member of Parliament, according to some of his constituents, but can he pose a serious challenge to Holness?

Peter Bunting has ambitions to take over the reins, will he be able to seriously threaten the now cocky JLP?

In my view, the humble, unassuming Mark Golding can be the fly in the ointment of the apothecary. It is all up to him.

Peter Phillips? I salute your work. You have paid yeoman's service to your country and no one can be disrespectful to that fact.

Maybe you need to take three steps back and consider calling it a day. You have done your bit and it was well done too.

That is my view from the outside.

Karyl Walker is a multi-award-winning journalist who has worked for Loop Jamaica, the Jamaica Observer, the RJR Communications Group and Nationwide Radio among other media entities. He now resides in South Florida.

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