Gov’t Commissioners propose hiring temporary staff to fill key posts at GECOM

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Government nominated Commissioners of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) are proposing that the entity hires temporary staff to fill four key positions at the agency ahead of elections 2020.

The posts include Logistics Manager, an Assistant Chief Elections Officer, a Research Officer and a person responsible for civic and voter education.

“We still have a problem with the vacancies and the way in which those vacancies are affecting the work of the secretariat,” Commissioner Vincent Alexander told the media after GECOM’s statutory meeting on Tuesday.

If these posts remain vacant, the Commissioner said the work of GECOM will be stymied and pressure will be on the current staff to complete it.

He said due to the unavailability of the full commission to conduct interviews, these posts will be left vacant for some time and GECOM cannot afford that at this critical period before elections.

“We were supposed to meet today, [because of] the absence or unavailability of a Commissioner, we could not meet to do the interviews and that Commissioner has again indicated that she is unavailable next week and in that context, we have suggested that we give the CEO [Chief Elections Officer] the authority to recruit temporary staff to carry out the tasks that those vacant positions should be carrying out so that GECOM can get on with its work,” Alexander explained.

Chairman of GECOM, Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh has indicated that she will make her position known after discussing the issue with the CEO, Keith Lowenfield.

Lowenfield was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Tuesday also discussed the usage of data collected during the house-to-house data to form part of the Revised List of Electors (RLE).

Alexander noted, “everybody would have been subjected to cross-matching so that that would provide for an opportunity to ensure there are no duplicates in the final revised list.”

However, Opposition nominated Commissioners are still against the use of the data.

Attorney-at-law Sase Gunraj told the media: “I am strong in the view that the house-to-house data as it currently is, has not been subjected to the scrutiny which makes it as strong or as binding as the other data that is currently on the NRR.”

The Commission has also completed a period of Claims and Objections during which half of the data from the house-to-house exercise was put up for public scrutiny.

GECOM has received the first tranche of data sent for cross-matching but is awaiting the second tranche which according to Justice Singh, will arrive on Saturday.

The Chairman told the media whilst leaving GECOM High Street Office on Tuesday that a decision will be made on the usage of the data at next Tuesday’s meeting since all of the cross-matching would be completed by then.

Additionally, GECOM’s Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) is exploring collaboration with the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) to enhance the capacity to monitor media content in the period leading up to elections.

The ERC was asked to put together a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be considered by GECOM.

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