‘The Commission knows best’ – Gunraj insists GECOM should pick next CEO
The hiring of the country’s next Chief Elections Officer (CEO) has further divided the seven-member Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) with APNU+AFC nominated Commissioners suggesting that the hiring should be done externally and independent of any influence from the Commission.
But People’s Progressive Party nominated Commissioner Sase Gunraj is holding to the traditional hiring process and asserted during a telephone interview with the News Room on Thursday that “the Commission knows best.”
“The Commission knows best what it wants from its employees and prospective employees and as a consequence, I do not see why that function should be delegated to some other body,” Gunraj reasoned.
Commissioner Desmond Trotman first made the suggestion last week, urging GECOM to contract an external hiring body to fill several critical vacant posts, including that of the CEO.
Gunraj believes the suggestion is “misguided” since Article 161 (A) of the Constitution mandates that the hiring of such officials is done by the Commission. It instructs that the Commission shall be responsible for the efficient functioning of the GECOM Secretariat which is headed by the CEO.
Further, it alludes that the Commission has the power to remove and to exercise disciplinary control over such staff.
“So the only delegation that this Article of the Constitution speaks of is to delegate the function to one or more members of the Commission.
“It does not care for the delegation of this function to anybody extraneous of the Commission,” Gunraj added.
The Commissioner said too that even if the suggestion is to be considered, it would have been moot since GECOM has not yet started the process of consideration. In fact, the final draft of vacancy advertisements is still being sorted.
The Commission met on Thursday and the final tweaking of the requirements for the new CEO, the Deputy CEO among the other vacancies were discussed.
Gunraj hopes that within the next week those vacancies can be advertised. The absence of the CEO and other key senior functionaries are already being felt, with PPP/C Commissioner Bibi Shadick positing that there is a real possibility that the GECOM can grind to a halt.
Gunraj had contended too that the work of the GECOM was being “crippled”.
Among those key positions to be filled is that of the Chief Accounting Officer and that official’s absence has resulted in serious financial issues within the electoral body.