GECOM decides on shortlisting process for vacant posts 

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…chair, PPP commissioners oppose independent panel

Notwithstanding the pleas of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) and even the Leader of the Opposition Joseph Harmon, the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh together with the Government-nominated Commissioners voted against the establishment of an independent panel to shortlist the applicants for the Chief Election Officer (CEO) and Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) posts.

Given the highly politicized composition of the Elections Commission, Opposition-nominated Commissioner Desmond Trotman had proposed that an independent panel aid in the shortlisting of the applicants for the two top positions before a final determination is made by the Commission, but when the proposal was put to a vote on Tuesday (November 9), Justice Singh used her vote to give the PPP/C nominated Commissioners an edge over the Opposition-nominated Commissioners.

In light of its decision on the independent panel, the Commission agreed to have each of the six Commissioners short list the applicants for the seven vacant positions, before a final list is determined.

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“Individual commissioners are to submit their short list after which the final short list will decided on,” Commissioner Vincent Alexander told Village Voice News.

According to Commissioner Alexander, the submissions are to be made by next Tuesday (November 16).

The positions to be filled are that of the Chief Election Officer, Deputy Chief Election Officer, Assistant Chief Election Officer, Chief Accountant, Legal Officer, Logistics Manager and Civic and Voter Education Manager. Some 490 persons have submitted applications.

However, approximately 20 persons from Guyana, the US, St. Kitts and Jamaica have applied for the Chief Elections Officer position, among them GECOM’s former CEO, Gocool Boodoo; Omar Shariff – former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Presidency; Vishnu Persaud – one of GECOM’s former Public Relations Officers (PROs); GECOM’s Information Technology Manager Aneal Giddings; Attorney-at-Law and Leader of the National Independent Party, Saphier Husain; Leslie Oliver Harrow from Jamaica; Eugene Godfrey Petty from St. Kitts and Dr. Kurt Clarke from the US.

Once the shortlist is created, the Commission will interview the candidates and recommendations for recruitment will be based on the tally of their scores. But Commissioner Alexander, during his appearance on Politics 101 on Tuesday night, told Political Scientist and Host, Dr. David Hinds that the current system is highly flawed.

“It is a highly flawed process because though people have score sheets, they could insert any score they wish and in fact it is not hypothetical. We have had instances where people have been scored as much as 100% so that the partisan nature of the Commission comes through in those score sheet; so it is a highly flawed process,” he told Dr. Hinds.

Commissioner Alexander said very often, it is left to the Chair of the Commission to create “the balance.”

Also at Tuesday’s Meeting, the Commission decided to advertise for a Research Officer and a Voter Registration Manager. “We decided to approve the filing of the vacancies on the BV-Triumph NDC,” Commissioner Alexander also indicated.



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