National Land Agency’s response to May 5, 2024 Gleaner article

The National Land Agency (NLA) has taken note of the contents of the Gleaner article: Cronyism concerns over senior appointment at NLA, published on Sunday, May 5, 2024. The Agency wishes to categorically put on record that the claims made in the article are unfounded, unsubstantiated, and not grounded in facts.

The claim that the decision to remove without permission from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service (MOFPS) the minimum requirement for Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) membership is not correct. The NLA received permission for the removal of RICS as a mandatory minimum requirement from the MOFPS in a letter dated December 15, 2022. Consequently, this is the basis on which the recruitment process for the post of Senior Director,Estate Management was initiated in January 2023 with the requirement of RICS indicated as an asset, instead of a mandatory condition. The post was advertised in the Gleaner, via online job portals, the NLA’s website and social media pages, as well as internally on our notice boards and intranet. This allowed the widest possible access and opportunity to those interested in, and eligible to apply for the position, and permitted all those who met the basic requirements of the position fair and equitable access and opportunity for consideration. Of the eight (8) applications received, we found that five (5) applicants did not meet the minimum required qualifications and experience.

The three (3) selected applicants were invited to sit a written assessment, a simulation exercise,  and a face-to-face interview before a four (4) member panel, which included an external subject  matter expert. Mr. Christopher McPherson obtained the highest scores in both the written  assessment and simulation exercise, which were prepared by the Information Standards and  Public Education Unit, Office of the Services Commission (OSC). The panel also highlighted Mr.  McPherson as the most suitable candidate for the position following the interview process. As a  result of an appeal submitted by a contending candidate, Mr. McPherson was made an  employment offer in a temporary capacity pending the outcome of the appeals process. This  employment was for one (1) year with no gratuity and no guarantee of an appointment to the  position. Mr. McPherson accepted and assumed the post on September 1, 2023. The NLA  subsequently received a letter from the MOFPS dated October 24, 2023 on November 21, 2023,  indicating that the approval for the removal of RICS was rescinded. The National Land Agency is  yet to receive a written response regarding the appeal.  

Consequent to the MOFPS rescinding its decision to remove RICS as a mandatory requirement  for the post of Senior Director, Estate Management, the National Land Agency was still  contractually bound based on the employment contract offer to Mr. McPherson. In March 2024  the decision was taken to transfer Mr. McPherson to the Business Services Division as the Senior  Director, Business Services, following the retirement of the previous incumbent.  

The Agency can confirm that over the past three (3) years more than 95% of vacant positions  across the Agency were filled through a competitive recruitment process, which guarantees meritocracy, ethical behaviour of Managers/Directors, and transparency, while reducing  nepotism, bureaucracy, and political interference in the selection process.  

The National Land Agency remains committed to upholding the highest ideals of professional  standards, and will continue to invest in a robust, committed, and qualified cadre of Officers,  thereby contributing to the national development of Jamaica. 


For further information contact:
Ms. Nicole Hayles
Manager, Marketing and Public Relations
Business Services Division, National Land Agency
Telephone: 876-946-5263 / 876-750-5263 ext. 4038
Mobile: 876-553-7286