Another controversy is brewing at the Guyana Elections Commission over the creation of new positions and the appointment of persons to those positions by the Chairman without the knowledge of the full Commission.
Opposition nominated Elections Commissioner, Vincent Alexander has accused the Chairman of GECOM, retired Justice Claudette Singh of secretly appointing the Commission’s IT Manager, Aneal Giddings as the Operations Coordinator.
But GECOM’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) Yolanda Warde told News Source that position was temporarily created in the absence of a Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO).
Commissioner Alexander, however, is of the view that the GECOM Chairman has no authority to make senior appointments.
“The Chair has no authority to create positions nor to appoint persons to senior positions. She has done both and in doing so the Commission was kept in the dark from November 9, 2022, to January 10, 2023,” he said.
According to him, the functions of the Operations Coordinator are similar to those of the DCEO.
“The position is approximate to that of the DCEO which they have not filled although there are applicants dating back over 6 months. They filled the temporary position with an applicant for DCEO who is less qualified than other applicants including one who is a long serving officer of GECOM,” Mr Alexander said.
The GECOM Public Relations Officer said the position created by the Chairman is not a permanent one.
“I don’t think it is a case where it was a permanent position that was created but considering that these vacancies are still to be filled, it was more of an interim arrangement until such process,” Ms Warde explained.
Asked when would the Commission be appointing a substantive DCEO, Ms Warde said she would not be able to say, noting that the matter is in the hands of the Elections Commission.
The Elections Commission has been without a DCEO since August 2021 following the firing of Roxanne Myers.
Although the position was advertised and there were several applications, there was no completion of the hiring process.
News Source understands that though the Commission shortlisted Melanie Marshall, Neil Bacchus, Mohamed Arjoon and Deodat Persaud for the post of DCEO, interviews were never conducted.
There are a number of other GECOM vacancies that need to be filled.