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McKenzie wrong for instructing NSWMA not to hire his son, says lecturer

Published:Wednesday | April 6, 2016 | 12:43 PM
Dr Omar Hawthorne

University lecturer Dr Omar Hawthorne says the son of Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie should not have been denied a job at the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) because of his family connection, if he was qualified.

The lecturer in the Department of Government at the University of the West Indies believes McKenzie was wrong for instructing the interim executive director of the NSWMA, Colonel Daniel Pryce, not to hire his son.

She says it would have been better if McKenzie had spoken to his son privately and asked him to withdraw his application for the job.

However, Dr Hawthorne said she is against the idea of disqualifying persons from getting certain jobs simply on the basis of their family ties.


University of the West Indies lecturer, Dr Omar Hawthorne

Yesterday it was reported that some NSWMA workers were upset about the hiring of McKenzie's son and cited nepotism as the reason for the appointment.

However, Colonel Pryce said the younger McKenzie had applied for a vacant position advertised nationally for months and was assessed and found to have the requisite qualifications.

He said the agency had planned to hire McKenzie’s son, until his father stepped in.

However, Hawthorne says a public perception of nepotism should not outweigh the person’s qualification.


University of the West Indies lecturer, Dr Omar Hawthorne

Hawthorne says the country is going down the wrong road on the issue.

She recalls a 2005 issue in which the son of former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson resigned his job as an information technology consultant at the NSWMA after suggestions that he got the job because of his connections.

He vowed then that he would never again work in the public service.