PPP’s quarrel with GECOM is about unfair hiring process, not race – Jagdeo

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Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo Thursday contended that the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) is more concerned about the “flawed” hiring process at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), which he believes discriminates on the basis of race and political affiliation.

He was at the time speaking at a news conference where he condemned the decision of Chairman Justice James Patterson to use his casting vote to support the hiring of Roxanne Myers as the Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) instead of Vishnu Persaud – who was the top ranked candidate for the job, having held the post up to 2017 when his contract expired at a time when GECOM did not have a chairman.

Opposition – aligned GECOM Commissioners have since written to the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) requesting an investigation into the matter, Commissioner Robeson Benn confirmed to the News Room.

Jagdeo argued that the decision to hire Myers over Persaud is severely flawed since the latter emerged as the most qualified and had enjoyed the confidence of all the GECOM Commissioners when he was substantively appointed to the post of DCEO in 2014. Persaud started his career at GECOM in 2001.

He further contended than while one’s political views should not be considered in the hiring process of an individual, the PPP General Secretary said the issue is peculiar regarding the posts of the Elections Officers.

A screengrab of a social media account of Roxanne Myers which was displayed by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo at his press conference

In this regard, Jagdeo expressed that it raises concerns about the credibility of the electoral process when the DCEO is a strident supporter of the APNU/AFC coalition and was encouraging people to vote for the party in the lead up to the 2015 General and Regional Elections.

“How is it that someone who has no experience in electoral matters comes out ahead of someone who has been in the system since 2001,” Jagdeo said.

The Opposition Leader also believes that the hiring system is “corrupt” because the Government Commissioners gave two individuals who were interviewed a score of “zero.” Jagdeo posited that the individuals could have at least gotten a score of “one” for showing up.

The Opposition Leader expressed hope that the ERC deals with the matter expeditiously so that there can be a reversal of the decision to hire Myers before the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGE).

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