Thu | Oct 22, 2020

Forrest pressed PS to bow to Warren shortlist

Published:Tuesday | July 31, 2018 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell/ Senior Staff Reporter

Chairman of the Spectrum Management Authority (SMA), Trevor Forrest, ignored the advice of the permanent secretary in the parent ministry against the late addition of Carolyn Warren to a shortlist of persons to be interviewed for a management position after the application process had closed in 2016.

It came to light yesterday that Forrest not only bucked the advice of Dr David McBean, then managing director of the entity, but that he also pooh-poohed the intervention of Hilary Alexander, permanent secretary in the then Ministry of Science, Technology and Energy.

"Until such time, the request stands and I expect that it will be carried out accordingly. An alternative course of action is to temporarily suspend the process until this issue is addressed at the board level," Forrest said following a series of email exchanges between himself and the permanent secretary.

In September 2016, Alexander advised Forrest accordingly: "From my certain experience, I have to say that your request is not only outside of the regulations/standard practice, but could potentially open the minister/ministry to serious questions regarding its recruitment practices. It consequently would not be in the interest of the entity or, by extension, the ministry to proceed on this basis."

In the email correspondence, Alexander also shared with Forrest advice from acting chief personnel officer, Jacqueline Mendez, from the Office of the Services Commission, who was copied on the issue. "I am to advise that in order to maintain the integrity of the process, third parties should not get involved in the submission of applications/rÈsumÈs," Mendez declared.

She further stated: "The values of integrity, merit, fairness, transparency and equity are important in human resource activities and, in particular, the recruitment process".

Responding to Alexander, the SMA chairman said he noted her concern, but also argued that "at the same time, I note the clearly defined reporting responsibilities between the managing director and the chairman/board, the managing director and permanent secretary, the chairman and the minister, and the permanent secretary and the minister".

Further, Forrest said: "My responsibility as chairman, and the responsibility of the board of SMA, is also clearly defined as per GoJ's Corporate Governance Framework and the Articles of Association of the entity."

He told the permanent secretary that while he appreciated her concerns, if there was an issue related to his request, the managing director should provide published, documentary reference to recruitment policies and procedures, "which expressly state that what has been requested is in violation of same".