Deodat Persaud was unfairly treated by GECOM

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Dear Editor

I like many Guyanese were shocked when GECOM presented its top two candidates for the post of CEO. Worst and indeed an insult to anyone’s intelligence is the conclusion that one candidate in that list is the deemed most qualified for the post. It is my belief that Mr. Deodat Persaud was not fairly treated in deriving this list.  Allow me to explain.

From the education standpoint Mr. Deodat Persaud is most qualified. In the advertisement published by GECOM, it was specific in asking for a Post Graduate Degree in Public Administration, Law or a related field. From Mr. Persaud LinkedIn profile, not only does he have a Master Degree in Public Administration but as an asset he has one in Business Administration also. Mr. Leslie Harrow holds a Masters in Public Administration only. However, Mr. Vishnu Persaud does not have a masters in the field requested by GECOM. A masters in Business Administration is clearly non-relatable to the work of the commission. Besides, Mr. Vishnu Persaud is not the holder of even a Bachelors Degree . He holds a Level 5 Certificate.  According to the National Qualifications Authority of UK, it qualifies the Level 5 Certificate as: HNDs, NVQs, BTEC Professional diplomas, certificates and awards, foundation degrees, Diploma of higher education (DipHE) equivalent. The same source notes that it only a Level 6 Certificate, which is considered a Bachelor’s Degree. Besides the duration for a Level 5 Certificate is 2 years, whereas for a degree, it is 3 years. From the above, it remains a mystery as to the reasons Mr. Vishnu Persaud was deemed qualified academically from among the current set of applicants.

In terms of experience, Mr. Vishnu Persaud, again quoting from his Linked profile has been a PR/ assistant to the Chairman. These roles are not managerial. The question is simple: How many persons did Mr. Vishnu Persaud manage in this role- direct or indirectly? His three short years as DCEO, while may be the senior role he had with the commission, this is inadequate as per GECOM requirements. Did GECOM consider Mr. Vishnu Persaud and Mr. Deodat Persaud performance appraisals in making this decision. Important questions must be asked as the number of people he managed in reality. If Mr. Vishnu Persaud years as a PRO can be added to amount his 10 years’ experience, then Mr. Deodat Persaud years as Assistant Registration Officer at a permanent registration office must count. Mr. Harrow functions at a zonal office, the equivalent to the one Mr. Deodat Persaud currently serves. If Mr. Harrow application was considered due to his experience, why wasn’t Mr. Deodat Persaud, given that he served in the same level, excepting different country. Let’s not forget that Mr. Persaud served a commissioner in a national body for three years, gaining him strategic leadership experience.

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According to GECOM website an Assistant Registration Officer roles are as follows:

1.Ensures responsibility to the Registration Officer for the management of his/her suboffice.

2.Determines the validity of registration applications and the relevant registration divisions with respect to transactions.

3. Assists the Registration Officer in the conduct of staff development sessions.

4.Assists the Registration Officer in the management of the office.

5.Assists the Registration Officer in the submission and receipt of registration transactions and reports.

6.Assists the Registration Officer in the maintenance of transaction ledgers.

7.Conducts periodic reconciliation of records.

8. Undertakes the functions of the Registration Officer in his/her absence.

How could someone who was exposed to the above for over 16 years be excluded? The above clearly shows that Mr. Deodat Persaud at his office functioned in a senior capacity, just under the Registration Officer. This is senior at the office he is assigned, if one is to look at the organization chart. Imagine the number of persons under Mr. Persaud supervision during a temporary activity.
Let’s look at his role as Deputy Returning officer. GECOM lists as follow:

The Deputy Returning Officer reports to the Returning Officer and is responsible for the operation of a group of Polling Stations or for a Sub-district. He/she is expected to;

1.  Organize and supervise the arrangements for Polling Stations in his/her sub-district;

2. Ensure that all Polling Day Officials appointed, have the skills for the effective and efficient performance of their duties by assisting the Commission’s Training Instructor;

3.Promptly report matters of concern to the Returning Officer with his/her District.

4.Ensure that all election materials are made available to Polling Stations in sufficient quantities and on time;

5.Disseminate official information throughout his/her sub-district;

6.Visit Polling Stations before Election Day with Returning Officer and Presiding Officer.

7.Visit Polling Stations in his/her sub-district on Election Day and give Feedback to the Returning Officer Advice and guidance to the Presiding Officer and other Polling Officials.

8.Receive results of the poll from Presiding Officers.

9.Transmit Results of the Poll to the Returning Officer IMMEDIATELY;

10. Ensure that all postings an publications are taken down as soon as practicable after Election Day,

11.Ensure that all election materials other fixtures and ballot boxes are promptly remitted to the Returning Officer; and performing other duties related to the conduct of poll as required by the Returning Officer.

How can a person with all the above exposure at the grass root level, with all the institutional knowledge gained over 16 years, does not make the cut for the CEO post. The GECOM system is clearly subjective and bend on producing candidates the Commissioners prefer, rather than the most qualified.

Moving forward, GECOM needs to correct this wrong perpetrated against Mr. Deodat Persaud. It is interesting to ask, how many CEOs in the past needed to have 10 years’ experience in senior election role? If election is every 5 years, then to gain such truly, one needs to wait for 10 elections, equal to 50 years. Such candidate will be over 70 years old? Is this the thinking.

Yours Truly
Sam White



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