GECOM hoping to finish shortlisting applicants for CEO next week

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), which received over a dozen applications from persons seeking to fill the post of Chief Elections Officer (CEO), is currently in the process of shortlisting applicants.

This was confirmed by GECOM’s Government-nominated Commissioner Manoj Narayan, who in an interview with this publication explained that they are aiming to complete the shortlisting process by next week.

“We’re actively working on shortlist and then moving to the interview process… because of the large volumes of applicants we have received for the various posts, it is not possible to interview all of them,” he said.

“And a lot of them do not meet the minimum criteria set forward in the advertisements either. So, there will be a shortlisting process we’re actively working on and when that process is complete, we’ll move immediately into the interview process.”

Narayan acknowledged that there is a need to fill the vacancies as expeditiously as possible. This is especially in light of the fact that Guyana was due to have Local Government Elections (LGE) this year.

“We understand that we need to fill these positions urgently, to carry out our work. So, we’re working on it. Shortlisting will be based upon those who have met the minimum criteria,” Narayan explained.

It was reported last month that GECOM’s advertisement for the post of CEO had generated significant interest, attracting local and international applications, some from as far as Texas, United States of America (USA).

According to a list seen by this publication, Dr Kurt Clarke from Texas, Leslie Oliver Harrow from Jamaica, and Eugene Godfrey Petty from St Kitts were the foreign applicants. Of the three, this publication was able to ascertain from news reports in Jamaica that Harrow was up until May employed as head of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).

Meanwhile, the local applicants include Gocool Boodoo, who was previously employed as CEO for several years. Vishnu Persaud, the former Deputy CEO, whose non-appointment for the role in 2018 triggered controversy of its own, had also applied.
Another applicant for the post was Attorney-at-Law Saphier Hussain, who was the Presidential Candidate for his National Independent Party (NIP) in the May 2015 General and Regional Elections. Former Permanent Secretary at the Office of the President, Omar Shariff, was also among the applicants.

The persons who are eventually hired will fill the vacancies caused by the removals of former Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield; his former Deputy, Roxanne Myers; and former Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo.

After several delays and legal proceedings, Lowenfield, Myers, and Mingo were on August 12 dismissed from their respective posts at the GECOM following a vote by the seven-member Commission.