Mon | Nov 19, 2018

Let them disclose their criminal records, Committee suggests

Published:Friday | November 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett/Senior Parliamentary Reporter
McNeill

The parliamentary committee tasked with monitoring public expenditure has proposed that Cabinet and the finance ministry develop clear guidelines that set out the positions and circumstances under which persons convicted of criminal offences can be employed within the public sector.

Further, the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) suggested that employment application forms for all government ministries, departments, and agencies include a question about previous convictions.

However, under the PAAC proposal, persons whose convictions have been expunged would not be required to disclose them.

"There must be some [job] positions where, given the sensitivities of those positions, if a person has a criminal record, it must be divulged," PAAC Chairman Wykeham McNeill said during a meeting of the committee held at Gordon House earlier this week.

"We would really want the input of the Cabinet Office and the Ministry [of Finance] simply because I suspect that if one of those jobs was, say, the governor of the Bank of Jamaica, whether it's expunged or not, it may be a necessary requirement," he added.

The suggestions came out of the committee's examination of several entities that fall under the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Office of the Prime Minister, which has responsibility for the energy portfolio, and are to be tabled in Parliament next Tuesday.

The proposed changes come nearly four months after Carolyn Warren stepped down as managing director of state-owned National Energy Solutions Limited before confirming that she had six criminal convictions.

Warren told The Gleaner at the time that she understood the concerns about her failure to disclose the convictions when she applied for the job.

McNeill said that there was agreement among members of the committee that Cabinet and the Ministry of Finance should develop a framework that treats with the employment of criminal offenders in the public sector.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com