GECOM in move to find new CEO

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…agreed to advertise to fill seven vacancies, among them CEO, DCEO posts

Months after the Secretariat of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) was left hamstrung after the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) and Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) were sent on leave and subsequently fired over allegations of electoral fraud, the Commission has agreed to advertise for Candidates to fill the vacant posts.

Village Voice News understands, that the Chairman of GECOM, Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh and at least five of the Elections Commissioners met on Tuesday and agreed to advertise seven vacant posts.

Those posts include: Office of the Chief Election Officer/Commissioner of Registration, Deputy Chief Election Officer/Deputy Commission of Registration, Assistant Chief Election Officer/Assistant Commissioner of Registration, Logistics Manager, Civic and Voter Education Manager, Legal Officer and Chief Accountant.

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The services of Keith Lowenfield as the Guyana’s Chief Elections Officer (CEO) were terminated on August 18, in addition to those of the Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) Roxanne Myers; and Region 4 Returning Officer (RO), Clairmont Mingo following three the successful passage of three motions sponsored by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Elections Commissioners.

Based on a draft copy of the vacancy notices seen by Village Voice News, candidates applying for the CEO’s post will be required to have a Post Graduate Degree in Public Administration, Law, Management or relevant discipline from a reputable and recognized institution, and specific training and verifiable experience in managing election systems along with at least 10 years experience in a senior management position overseeing and directing diverse operations aimed at achieving targets within specific deadlines.  Additionally, candidates would need at least 10 years experience in Management of National Elections and Election Systems.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Commission, the Opposition nominated Commissioners proposed that the vacancies be advertised for at least one month, however, the PPP/C nominated Commissioners, in their counter-proposal, suggested two weeks. During the course of the meeting, the timeframe was not finalised, however, based on the draft vacancy notices seen, October 28, 2021 has been set as a tentative deadline.

It is unclear when the Commission will commence advertising the vacant posts, however, it agreed that the vacancy notices will be placed in all of the national local newspapers, and on all of the licensed radio stations in Guyana.

Meanwhile, a proposal by Elections Commissioner Desmond Trotman to have an independent panel of external persons assist the Commission in shortlisting the new Chief Elections Officer, and Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) did not form part of Tuesday’s meeting.

When it was earlier proposed, some weeks ago, it was rejected by the government-nominated Commissioners – Bibi Shadick, Sase Gunraj and Manoj Narayan.

Commissioner Trotman, in his proposal, recommended that an independent panel of external persons be tasked with interviewing candidates for the high-level posts, and based on their assessments, make recommendations to the Commission for its consideration and finalization.

Currently, the commissioners conduct interviews of candidates and recommendations for recruitment are based on the tally of their scores. However, the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), in a statement, said the process has attracted much criticism as critics contend, with some justification, that the process is driven by subjectivity that tend to mirror the partisan bias of the commissioners

“The accusations of political bias and attempts of fraud on the part of GECOM staff at all elections since 2006 can be traced right back to the interviewing process.

In the circumstances. WPA feels that the removal of the commissioners from the interviewing process could go a long way towards addressing this problem and restoring some degree of confidence in GECOM staff,” WPA submitted.

It said while political parties may try to indirectly influence the process, freeing the commissioners of the burden of being actively involved in the interviewing process allows them to better police it.



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