Three foreigners, 17 locals in the running for Chief Elections Officer post

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By Kurt Campbell

[email protected] 

Some 20 people have applied to become Guyana’s next Chief Elections Officer (CEO) with more than a dozen more applying for the deputy CEO post, the News Room has been informed.

Among those who have submitted applications for the top post in the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM’s) Secretariat are three foreigners. They are Leslie Oliver Harrow from Jamaica, Dr. Kurt Clarke from Texas and Eugene Godfrey Petty from St. Kitts.

Seventeen locals are among the contenders for Chief Elections Officer.

The News Room has confirmed that Gocool Boodoo, who previously served in the position of CEO for several years, has applied to return to the job. His contract was not renewed in 2013.

Other applicants for the post include Attorney Saphier Hussain. He was the Presidential Candidate for the National Independent Party (NIP) in the May 2015 elections. His party had also contested the 1997 elections.

Additionally, former Permanent Secretary at the Office of the President Omar Shariff has also applied for the post of Chief Elections Officer.  Now an attorney-at-law, Shariff’s services were terminated in December 2016 as Permanent Secretary while under investigation for suspected money-laundering.

The News Room has confirmed too that former Deputy Chief Elections Officer, Vishnu Persaud has also applied for the post. Persaud, who had applied for the advertised DCEO post in 2018, lost his bid to Roxanne Myers.

The other applicants are Deodat Persaud, Christopher Chan, Colin Thompson, Nyall Jodhan of The Citizenship Initiative (TCI), Dr. Stanley Paul, Dr. Hubert Maloney, Abushameer Khan, Simone Beckles (Former head of GRA’s Container Scanner Unit), Jainarine Singh, Mr. Ronald Singh, Aneal Azhar Giddings (GECOM’s Information Technology Manager), Amar Panday and Dr. Breysha Saskia Solomon

There has been no meeting of Commissioners in the last two weeks owing to the holiday on October 19 and internet challenges on Tuesday.

The Commission is expected to meet soon to review the applications and proceed with in-person interviews to find the best person to fill the critical posts.

For the post of CEO, GECOM is asking that the person be equipped with a Post Graduate Degree in Public Administration, Law, Management or relevant discipline from a reputable and recognised institution and specific training and verifiable experience in managing elections systems along with at least ten years of experience in a senior management position overseeing and directing diverse operations aimed at achieving targets within specific deadlines.

It also notes that at least ten years of experience in the management of national elections and elections systems is a prerequisite requirement. The requirements are similar for the DCEO.

The other advertised posts are for an Assistant CEO, Logistics Manager, Civic and Voter Education Manager, Legal Officer and a Chief Accountant.

The CEO and DCEO were both fired recently by the Commission even as they face several charges linked to electoral fraud committed at the March 02, 2020 elections.

Those posts will have to be filled before GECOM goes to another election. Local Government Elections are due this year with monies already budgeted, but with two months remaining in this year, it seems improbable.

Editor’s Note: a previous collage used as the featured image for this article has included a picture of Don Singh. It was an error that has since been corrected and an apology has been issued to Mr. Singh.

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