Vishnu Persaud who previously scored highest for DCEO job could be front runner for CEO
Vishnu Persaud, the man who was discriminated against and denied an appointment in 2019 to be returned as the Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) although he scored the highest, is now the only candidate with the required qualifications for the vacant post of Chief Elections Officer (CEO).
Persaud is among a shortlist of six persons, reduced from 20, who applied in October for the post of CEO.
But although he is seemingly the only person with the required qualification and experience, attempts are being made to disqualify him by the APNU nominated GECOM Commissioners who have instead propped up three foreigners who all lack the required experience.
It was the then GECOM Chairman Justice (ret’d) James Patterson who had cast the tie-breaker vote to hire now embattled Roxanne Myers, who has since been charged following attempts to rig the 2020 elections, over Persaud.
In 2019, a report into the hiring practices of GECOM by the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) found that Patterson’s only reason for doing so was on an unsubstantiated allegation that Persaud was “shifty” although he himself had never met Persaud.
The ERC report concluded that Persaud was the first candidate in the history of GECOM who had obtained the highest score and had not been appointed.
Persaud was first appointed at GECOM on November 2, 2001, to the post of Public Relations Officer and functioned as the Personal Assistant to then GECOM Chairman Dr Steve Surujbally.
He was appointed the Deputy Chief Elections Officer on August 13, 2014, for a period of three years.
His contract was not renewed and the post was later advertised. Persaud applied and was interviewed for the position and scored 76 points, well ahead of Myers.
Now, having applied for the CEO post, Persaud again seems to be a front runner, being the only candidate to possess the required qualification and experience.
Speaking to the News Room on Tuesday, GECOM Commissioner Bibi Shadick said there was no need to be strict on experience, but if that is the case, then there will be no need for interviews since Persaud is the only candidate with experience.
“…Their (APNU) plan was to only look at the foreigners… but I said no because nobody, except one person, has everything we are asking for,” Shadick said.
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 Rd 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.