The Alliance for Change, which is a partner in the APNU+AFC Coalition, believes that whoever would have been chosen as the Chief Elections Officer would have found themselves under suspicion of nearly half of the population.
The AFC’s statement in response to the hiring of new Chief Election Officer, Vishnu Persaud, came after stinging criticism from Opposition Leader and APNU General Secretary Joseph Harmon.
Harmon in a statement on Friday, accused the Chairman of the Elections Commission, retired Justice Claudette Singh of making a political decision with her choice to support Persaud for the job. The GECOM Chair has defended her endorsement of Persaud for the job, pointing out that his 17-years of experience at GECOM and the recommendation from a former GECOM Chairman, cemented Persaud’s hiring for her.
The Alliance for Change in thanking the Elections Commission for reaching a decision on the issue said a decision had to be made and the party hopes that the process of rebuilding trust and confidence in the electoral system can begin.
“As a prerequisite to rebuilding the credibility of the system, we must have a new Voters List – purged of all the contaminants of the past, and then, go on to hold Local Government Elections that are truly representative of the wishes of the people”, the AFC statement said.
The AFC noted that the new Chief Election Officer has a long and difficult road ahead, but it trusts that he has the “right stuff” to lead a team that can deliver free, fair and acceptable elections whenever required by law.
“It goes without saying that whoever had been chosen in this position would have received the approbation of half of the population and the suspicion and possible rejection of the other half. That this is so, is a sorry and painful reflection of the poor state of our democracy and pointedly proclaims that the appointment alone of a Chief Elections Officer, in and of itself, cannot and will not strengthen our weak and threatened democracy”, the Alliance for Change noted.
The hiring of the new GECOM Chief Election Officer follows the termination of the contracts for the former CEO, his Deputy and the Returning Officer for Region 4, earlier this year.
The Commission cut ties with the four as they are currently before the Courts facing various charges into allegations of fraud and misconduct in public office in relation to the 2020 elections. The three former officials have always denied the charges.