Applicants for GECOM posts should be interviewed based on criteria met

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—- Alexander

Reports that the opposition Election Commissioners have refused to interview candidates shortlisted by the Government Commissioners for the seven top positions in the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) are nothing but false, Commissioner Vincent Alexander said while explaining that the Commissioners have simply requested that the lists submitted by both sides be further shortlisted by the Commission based on criteria met before interviews are done.

In an interview with Village Voice News, Alexander – one of the three opposition-nominated Commissioners – explained that during the Tuesday, November 23 Meeting of the Elections Commission chaired by Justice (Ret’s) Claudette Singh, it was acknowledged that both sides of the divide submitted their lists of nominees for the seven top GECOM posts based on the more than 400 applications submitted.

Chairman of the Elections Commission, during the meeting, indicated that she will integrate the submissions into a single list, which will be circulated among the Commissioners by Thursday.

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It was then that the Opposition-nominated Commissioners, comprising Vincent Alexander, Desmond Trotman and Charles Corbin – expressed the view that the integrated list should not be used as the sole basis for interviews.

“… we cannot simply use the integrated submissions as the basis for interviews. We now have to take that one submission, look back at the criteria and see if those persons meet the criteria, and use that as the basis for a final shortlist,” Alexander explained.

But the proposal did not sit well with the Government-nominated Commissioners – Bibi Shadick, Sase Gunraj and Manoj Narayan – who are insisting that all persons on the integrated list should be interviewed regardless of whether or not they have reached the criteria set by GECOM.

GECOM’s former Public Relations Officer, Vishnu Persaud and its current Information Technology Manager, Aneal Giddings are among the six nominees shortlisted by the Government-nominated Commissioners for the position of Chief Elections Officer (CEO) while the Opposition-nominated Commissioners submitted only three nominees from the list of 20 applicants – St. Kitts’ Eugene Petty, Leslie Harrow of Jamaica, and Dr. Kurt Clarke of the US.

Notably, Giddings, though shortlisted by the PPP/C’s nominated Commissioners, does not have a 10 year-experience in Electoral Management as required by GECOM.

However, Alexander made it clear that the opposition-nominated Commissioners never rejected the submissions by the other commissioners.

“We are not rejecting their submissions,” Alexander said while iterating that the Commissioners on his side of the divide are simply insisting that the list of candidates be further shortlisted based on criteria met.

“Our position is, is that any other work on the list should be to determine whether the people listed have met the requirements as specified by GECOM,” he said.

Based on the requirements set by GECOM, Candidates for the CEO post, must 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, they are required to have at least 10 years experience in Management of National Elections and Election Systems.

That aside, the PPP/C-nominated commissioners submitted four names for the Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) post – Melanie Marshall, Neil Bacchus, Mohamed Arjoon and Deodat Persaud – while the Opposition nominated Commissioners submitted only two – Melanie Marshall and Deodat Persaud.

Further, Delon Clarke, Nolan Jervis, Colin April, Melanie Marshall, Natasha Grenion Dipchand, Deolall Ramlall, Deodat Persaud and Andrea Sparman were shortlisted by the Opposition-nominated Commissioners for the Assistant Chief Elections Officer (ACEO) post.

In the case of the PPP/C-nominated Commissioners, Noland Jervis, Melanie Marshall, Paul Jaisingh, Mohamed Arjoon, Neil Bacchus, Deolall Ramlall and Deodat Persaud were shortlisted for the ACEO post.

Candidates have also been shortlisted for the posts of Legal Officer, Chief Accountant, Civic and Voter Education Manager and Logistics Manager.



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