Chairman’s vote decided new CEO for GECOM
Justice Claudette Singh used her vote as Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Friday to select Vishnu Persaud as the country’s new Chief Elections Officer.
Persaud had served the Commission for several years, including as Public Relations Officer and Deputy Chief Elections Officer under former Chairman Dr Steve Surujbally.
He was first appointed deputy CEO on August 13, 2014, for a period of three years. His contract was not renewed and when he re-applied he was denied the job despite being the better candidate.
At the time, it was then GECOM chairman Justice James Patterson who voted against Persaud. But an investigation by the Ethnic Relations Commission found that Justice Patterson failed to produce any evidence upon which he questioned Persaud’s qualifications.
This time around, Persaud decided to apply for the post of CEO; he was one of 20 persons to apply. In the end, it came down to Persaud and former Jamaican Elections Officer Leslie Harrow.
Not unexpectedly, the three opposition-nominated commissioners voted against Persaud but the three government Commissioners voted in favour of him. The chairman had the deciding vote and gave the nod for Persaud to be appointed CEO.
The vacancy opened up after GECOM fired disgraced CEO Keith Lowenfield and his Deputy Roxane Myers, the woman who was handed the post three years ago over Persaud despite the fact that she scored four points less than Persaud in the interview.