APNU+AFC Commissioners favour only foreigners for Chief Elections Officer post

- Shadick says ‘we have competent Guyanese’

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A meeting of the seven-member Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on Tuesday ended with the submission of individual shortlists for persons who have applied for seven top posts at GECOM, including that of a Chief Elections Officer (CEO).

With three foreigners and 17 locals having applied for the CEO position, the APNU+AFC nominated Commissioners – Vincent Alexander, Desmond Trotman, and Charles Corbin – submitted three individual lists that included none of the 17 locals.

They have indicated by shortlisting that they favour Leslie Oliver Harrow from Jamaica, Dr. Kurt Clarke from Texas, and Eugene Godfrey Petty from St. Kitts ahead of a series of interviews to commence shortly.

But the ruling PPP/C Commissioners led by Bibi Shadick have railed against the exclusion of what they say are competent locals who have been sidelined by the other side for in-person interviews.

Shadick said while the shortlists submitted by herself and Commissioners Sase Gunraj and Manoj Narayan include locals, it also includes the names of the foreigners.

GECOM Commissioner, Bibi Shadick

She denied claims that the PPP/C Commissioners have all tapped former Deputy Chief Elections Officer, Vishnu Persaud at the top of their lists.

“My list has the same three names that Alexander submitted along with three more names, one of which is Vishnu Persaud.

“I don’t know about frontrunner, but when I shortlisted what I looked for was the persons who had the basic qualifications we advertised for and if not 10 years’ experience, some amount of experience in elections management. I don’t know who is a frontrunner or not,” she told the News Room.

Shadick said there are competent Guyanese who have applied and questioned the reason for the APNU+AFC Commissioners rejecting them.

“Why? Why would they want to do that? They want to put our elections into foreign hands. First, they want to put the interviews into foreign hands now they want to put the elections into foreign hands. What are they admitting, that everyone in this country is tainted?” the GECOM Commissioner quizzed.

Meanwhile, Shadick has faulted the APNU+AFC Commissioners for delaying the start of the interviewing process.

“All they are doing is delaying the process. They have a bee in their bonnet about the instrument for the interview. What to give marks for, that kind of thing and they want to tie people into some instrument,” she explained.

But, according to the GECOM Commissioner, an instrument already exists, which was used for all the other interviews including the hiring of now embattled Roxanne Myers for Deputy CEO.

“At the end of the day what I will be doing is to give each one of those persons a percentage based on my questioning… I don’t mind having an instrument but I don’t need to be tied by that instrument,” she said.

Shadick believes that agreeing on a scoring mechanism before the interviews makes the process subjective and not objective.

“That will take another two weeks so all I am seeing is a delaying tactic because as far as I am concerned is that we use the instrument we have been using all the time.”

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