Hours after the Guyana Elections Commission by a majority vote terminated the contracts of the body’s Chief Election Officer, Mr. Keith Lowenfield, Deputy Chief Election Officer, Ms. Roxanne Myers and the Region 4 Returning Officer for General and Regional Elections 2020, Mr. Clairmont Mingo, GECOM Chair, Justice Claudette Singh explained that the terminations were provided for in the contracts of the officers.
In a statement, the Elections Commission posited that although the officers held public/statutory offices, they were not public but rather contractual officers and as a result, they have no security of tenure. The GECOM Chair said their respective contracts stipulated the terms by which they were bound.
According to the statement, “that these officers exercise the right to enter their respective contract willingly and voluntarily and were therefore aware of the method of termination provided by the respective contract,” adding that, “it is trite law that not even a court of law can enforce a contract for personal services against an employer terminating the contract of an employee since the proper relief for a breach in an employment contract for personal services lies in damages.”
In relation to the CEO, the Chair said, Clause 9 of his contract stipulates that his services can be terminated by giving him three months’ notice or payment in lieu of notice, and in the case of the DCEO and the RO their contracts stipulate that the Commission may at any time terminate their employment by giving three months’ notice or payment in lieu of.
Accordingly, the release said the officers will be paid three months’ salary inclusive of all allowances under their respective contract as well as payment for the remaining days of their vacation leave if any of those days remain.
The GECOM Chair cast the deciding vote to terminate the three GECOM Officers after the Opposition nominated Commissioners abstained from the vote.