GECOM Chair rejects rehiring of Deputy CEO, PPP to file complaint with ERC

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Opposition Commissioners on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) will be taking steps to file a complaint with the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) after Chairman Justice James Patterson used his casting vote to reject the rehiring of Vishnu Persaud as the Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO).

In 2017, Persaud was greeted with new locks on his office door when he returned to work after taking some leave. Reports indicated that his three-year contract with the Commission had ended.

At an emergency press conference Tuesday afternoon at the office of the Opposition Leader on Church Street, the three commissioners labelled the move as unfair and further contributing to a “racial imbalance” at GECOM.

The Commissioners had previously complained about the makeup of the staff at the Commission, contending that those in the top positions are mainly Afro-Guyanese but could not provide any proof.

Commissioner Robeson Benn said he has “grave concerns” where an eminently qualified person with experience in the field was denied from being reemployed.

Roxanne Myers

The Commissioners contended that Persaud – who is of East Indian descent – had emerged as the top-ranked candidate for the position of DCEO following an extensive evaluation process.

Despite the ranking, the GECOM Chairman voted for Roxanne Myers – who is of African descent – to take up the position of DCEO.

Commissioner Bibi Shaddick remarked that this development is “blatant discrimination” on the basis of race.

Shaddick said she has no personal reasons for wanting Persaud to be DCEO but it is a matter of principle that he is best qualified for the position since he was the top-ranked candidate.

The Opposition Commissioners recently had an issue with Justice Patterson after he prevented Benn from speaking at a meeting following a heated discussion about the Peoples Progressive Party’s (PPP) claims of an ethnic imbalance at the Elections Body.

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