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…termination of services to take effect Aug 18.
The services of Guyana’s Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield; Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO), Roxanne Myers; and Region 4 Returning Officer (RO), Clairmont Mingo will be terminated with effect from August 18, Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Public Relations Officer (PRO) Yolanda Ward announced on Thursday.
The announcement came hours after the Elections Commission, by a majority vote, voted for the top Elections Officials to be dismissed. The matter was determined by a vote of 4 in favour and 3 abstentions.
“This decision was provided by the Commission’s Chairperson, Justice Claudette Singh at a statutory meeting held on Thursday, August 12, 2021 after weeks of deliberation on the motions brought to the Commission by the government nominated Commissioners seeking the removal of those persons from office,” Ward explained in a statement.
Justice Singh said in arriving at the position, the Commission considered thoroughly the conditions for termination laid out in the contracts.
“Although they hold public / statutory office, they are not public but rather contractual officers. They have no security of tenure and their respective contracts stipulate the terms by which they are bound,” the GECOM Chair explained.
She said the Officers exercised the right to enter their respective contract willingly and voluntarily and were therefore aware of the method of termination provided by the respective contracts.
“…it is trite law that not even a court of law can enforce a contract for personal services against an employer terminating the contract of an employee since the proper relief for a breach in an employment contract for personal services lies in damages,” the retired judge explained.
Claude 9 of the CEO’s contract stipulates that his services can be terminated by giving him three months’ notice or payment in lieu of. In the case of the DCEO and RO, their contracts stipulate that the Commission may at any time terminate their employment by giving three months’ notice or payment in lieu of.
“Accordingly, the officers will be paid three months’ salary in lieu inclusive of all allowances under their respective contract as well as payment for remaining days of vacation leave (if any),” the GECOM Chairman assured.
On June 22, 2021, the three were placed on leave. Their termination will now take effect on August 18. The Election Officials have been accused of accused of committing electoral fraud during the 2020 Elections.