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Having read GECOM`s release in response to an article carried in Kaieteur News on Friday, January 20, 2023 under the caption: “GECOM Chair goes it alone,” I wish to make the following observations.
- The Constitution of Guyana is pellucid: Article 161.A. (1) The Elections Commission shall be responsible for the efficient functioning of the Secretariat of the Commission, which shall comprise the officers and employees of the Commission, and for the appointment of all staff to the offices thereof inclusive of all temporary staff, recruited for the purposes of boundary demarcation, registration of persons and elections and shall have the power to remove and exercise disciplinary control over such staff.
May I therefore reiterate what the article proffered. GECOM`s chair has no authority to create any position and make appointments to any such position, be it temporary or otherwise. The chairperson`s action was ultra-vires.
- There has been no effort, even in the normal course of things, to expedite the appointment of the DCEO, even at the time when the CEO wrote the Chair indicating that he was under pressure. In fact, it has been placed on the back burner, while they rushed to create a temporary position and surreptitiously appoint the IT Manager. And in so doing, bypassed the officer next in line in the administrative hierarchy, although when they contrived the appointment of that officer, they contended that that officer had experienced acting for the DCEO.
No doubting can change the fact that Operations Coordinator is a temporary position created and filled by an act of the Chairperson. Admission of any such previous wrongdoing, especially when it was identified, condemned, and the culpable officer reprimanded cannot be the justification for a subsequent wrong doing.
- When confronted about the unlawful act they sought to make it a matter of a ‘vote’ rather than the usual ‘judgment’, however the judgment has now been announced in the Media, thus preempting the promised vote on the matter.
- Imagine, after the Chair’s ‘ruling’ that ‘the matter would be deferred for a vote, when all of the commissioners are present’, the Commission issues a Press Release stating “Mr. Giddings` secondment will come to an end upon the appointment of a DCEO”. That is tantamount to the confirmation of the wrongdoing and further emasculation of the Commission. This is contemptuous and disrespectful. This is totalitarianism at its worst and is intended to enable and buttress an illicit act.