Pinder abandons Public Service for Private Sector Payday
Like Bahamians around the country, I too was taken aback by the sudden resignation of the Minister responsible for Financial Services Ryan Pinder. According to a statement from Government officials Pinder will relinquish his position as a cabinet minister to take a prominent position at Deltec Bank and Trust Limited.
Many Bahamians will remember the somewhat dubious circumstances under which Pinder first entered front line politics in this country. A former US tax attorney, Pinder renounced his US citizenship and in doing so pledged his commitment to public service in this country and specifically to the residents of the Elizabeth constituency who supported him wholeheartedly and elected him to office twice, first as an opposition MP and then again into government.
After pledging his commitment in the service of the country, and ascending to the post of cabinet minister, Mr. Pinder has chosen to turn his back on that commitment in favor of what he is calling the opportunity of a lifetime. Clearly for Pinder, Deltec’s offer trumped the opportunity to serve his country, shape policy and influence the economic and financial future of the nation.
The sudden resignation of Financial Services Minister Ryan Pinder to rejoin the private sector raises a number of serious concerns and is once again a reflection of the self-serving interests of members of this PLP administration.
Firstly, there are serious ethical implications which result from his resignation. Whose interest does it serve for a former cabinet minister, formerly responsible for regulating the financial services sector, to then join one of the very companies he had been mandated to regulate? Further, did Deltec court the minister for this position while he was still serving in cabinet? While he still had access to sensitive government plans for the sector, and if so were they given a preview of those plans? If so, this would not only be unethical but would also seemingly give Deltec and illegal advantage over its competitors.
Secondly, what will become of the many important initiatives which Pinder was overseeing? Among them, the country’s accession to the WTO? For Months, Pinder has spearheaded the talks with international officials and has been responsible for the – albeit – limited public proclamations on the issue.
Pinder’s resignation also highlights the need for discretion when choosing individuals to serve in public office. Such a decision should never be taken lightly. Taking on the responsibilities of public service often requires great personal sacrifice including giving up more lucrative positions in order to affect change. It is a commitment that is also taken on by that individual’s family as well. While the final decision is indeed Mr. Pinder’s to make, it certainly seems to send the message that he was no longer prepared to make the personal sacrifices necessary to fulfill his original commitment. I encourage any and all individuals considering public life to fully weigh the decision beforehand.
And what of Mr. Pinder’s decision to remain in parliament? How will his new duties affect his ability to serve his constituents? These answers are owed to his constituents and to the wider Bahamian public.
What this country needs are leaders who understand the idea of sacrifice. Leaders who are prepared to go without so that the entire country can benefit, leaders who are in it for the long haul, and not easily swayed by the offer of a big pay day.
DNA Deputy Leader