Jamaica Observer / KINGSTON, Jamaica — OBSERVER ONLINE readers have come out in defence of embattled National Energy Solutions Limited (NESOL) boss, Carolyn Warren, who last night admitted to a drug conviction, which she said happened in 1993 and was given a suspended sentence for. Warren’s misdemeanour was thrown into the spotlight by Opposition Spokesman Phillip Paulwell who made the revelation yesterday and called on Prime Minister, Andrew Holness to immediately relieve her of her duties.

Read: NESOL boss admits to drug offence 25 years ago

Paulwell had said that police and intelligence sources had confirmed Warren’s drug conviction and that she had “spent some three years in prison for trafficking in cocaine”.

According to Paulwell, “this was just another example of the lack of accountability by Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley in the performance of his duties as minister of energy and reason why he should be dismissed by the prime minister without further delay”.

However, some OBSERVER ONLINE readers have defended Warren, saying she should be allowed to keep her job.

“I think this lady should be allowed to keep her job even if only to serve as encouragement to those who made a mistake in their youthful days. We need to send the right message of encouragement to people and young people in particular,” said one commenter Yadda, who further argued that if Warren did not lie to anyone about the conviction, she was not in the wrong and “should be helped to get her life going on the current path of good conduct that she is on right now”.

The reader added: “I think anyone who disclosed this information in this out of order manner should be relieved of their duty for there is a right and wrong way about doing these things”.

Another reader, Stingjam, agreed, saying that, “I’d rather back a decent person who has learned from their mistakes…”

“Jamaica suffers greatly because of old youthful mistakes being used to crush people who have risen far from their mistake. Let’s not forget that this is all while many in the upper echelons of money and politics pretend to be squeaky clean. Enough with this farce,” the reader commented.

Meanwhile, other users backed Paulwell in calling for Warren’s immediate sacking.

“Mr Prime Minister, you cannot have a convicted drug trafficker who spent three years in prison working in management position in a government entity,” said Jim Kelly.

“Don’t get me wrong, she can be employed in government, but not in the capacity of management. Get her out fast. It is not good”.

Another user, Cane Curtter, chided Warren for not disclosing her conviction in the first place.

“Her mistake of 25 years ago isn’t the issue, failure to disclose before accepting the job is.”

Others lashed out against Paulwell, with one reader arguing that the People’s National Party (PNP) was seeking to be “relevant”.

“Phillip Paulwell, leave the woman alone that was 25 yrs ago…This will not make you and the PNP relevant,” contended Juju Brown.

Meanwhile, online user Chris gave his best wishes to Warren: “I wish you the best MsWarren, those who seek to see your downfall will themselves fall. It is good that you have turned your life around. So goes many of us but for grace”. 

He added: “I wonder how many politicians are willing to confess their past? Not many I imagine.”

In her response to Paulwell, Warren said that for the past 25 years of her life she had dedicated herself to working with young people to ensure they don’t make the same mistake she did.

Since then, she has turned her life around, gone back to school and earned an undergraduate degree in management and is now currently pursuing a Master’s degree in business administration. She also said she spent years in the private sector and has developed a reputation for her dedication and professionalism.

“Whatever my fate, I will continue to work in my church and make a contribution to young people to ensure that others are not mislead and make the same mistake I did 25 years ago. I did not disclose my mistake of 25 years ago because I know most persons would judge me by that past mistake and for that I also apologise. I am not the same person I was 25 years ago, but if must pay for that mistake again with this job I will do so and rebuild my life once again with the help of God,” Warren said.

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