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Jamaicans weigh in on government's handling of issues at NESol - RJRGLEANER/Don Anderson poll

Don Anderson
 
The latest RJRGLEANER poll has revealed that most Jamaicans think people with an undisclosed criminal record should be prevented from holding a senior position in the public sector.
 
The poll was conducted islandwide between February 15 and March 3.
 
Pollster Don Anderson said 1,000 people gave their views. 
 
"Fifty-eight per cent of the persons we interviewed said they should be prevented from holding senior public office and this contrast with the 28 per cent who said 'no', they shouldn't be barred from holding a senior public office," he revealed.  
 
A revelation last year that Carolyn Warren, the former head of the National Energy Solutions Limited (NESol), had several criminal convictions sparked heated debates regarding whether her record should have disqualified her from the job.
 
The revelation of her criminal record led to Mrs Warren tendering her resignation as head of NESol in July last year.
 
The RJRGLEANER poll also sought to find out whether people have a problem with persons without required qualifications being appointed to senior positions in the public sector. 
 
"There is where we have an overwhelming negative because 75 per cent of persons interviewed said 'we don't believe that they should be appointed to senior positions in government'... 10 per cent didn't have a problem with it, and the remainder simply didn't have enough information to be able to answer one way or another," said Mr. Anderson. 
 
Mrs Warren as well as former human resource manager at Petrojam Yolande Ramharrack were caught up in scandals surrounding their qualification for the jobs they held.
 
But only 18 per cent of respondents to the RJRGLEANER poll felt the government handled the issues at NESol properly while 31 per cent shared the oppositng view. The majority, 51 per cent, did not have an opinion on the handling of the issue. 
 
Mr. Anderson said it was a similar case when they were asked whether they believed the government received value for money from NESol contracts. Fifteen per cent said 'yes', they believed the government received good value for money, while 41 per cent did not think so. Another 44 per cent of respondents said they were unsure of the issue. 
 
Last year it was revealed that NESol had paid Peak Energy Solutions more than $12 million for work, despite the absence of a contract.
 
Former Nesol head Carolyn Warren disclosed that she recommended that the agency engage the services of Lenny Gordon, the head of Peak Energy Solutions, for work on the project.
 
This raised questions, especially after it was revealed that Ms. Warren and Mr. Gordon were former co-workers at media entity Nationwide News Network.
 
In the meantime, the poll also sought to find out whether Jamaicans agree with newly elected governments appointing mainly persons who favour their policies to public boards. 
 
Mr. Anderson said most did not. 
 
"Very interestingly, one in every four, that's 25 per cent, were in favour of government appointing to boards persons who were mainly sympathetic to their own policies...but the majority, 52 per cent, didn't think that this was the right approach to the selection of boards." 
 
Forty-two per cent of respondents felt one third of the members of a board should be retained when a new government takes office while 35 per cent were opposed to this. 
 
Mr. Anderson noted that more respondents believed one third of the members of a board should being retained in a new government because they were likely in support of continuity. 
 


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