With local government elections just two months away, the Guyana Elections Commission is pushing to have all vacancies filled for Elections Day staff within the next few weeks and have the persons trained in time for the local polls.
Training has already commended but at a press briefing on Monday morning, Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield said there is a worrying shortfall in the number of staff needed for some communities.
“At this point, we continue to have a shortfall in the numbers, specifically in Georgetown and for the nine NDC’s on the East Coast and in Region 2 and Region 6”, Lowenfield said.
He explained that GECOM has been seeking to get persons from within the municipalities and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils to apply for the Presiding Officer and Assistant Presiding officer and other senior jobs.
According to the Chief Elections Officer, “we are saying that if we are talking about Rose Hall, we want people from that municipality to be engaged as against going to Fyrish or Port Mourant or Tain and so that is the trust and as far as practicable, we have not satisfied that guideline as provided by the Commission”.
He further stated that for Georgetown the problem is even more serious but the Commission usually sees an increase in applications for positions as the date draws near. The Chief Elections Officer said he is confident that the vacancies will be filled and the elections process will proceed without any issues.
Over the weekend, GECOM advertised several positions in the local press even as it commenced training of E-day staffers.
The Chairman of the Elections Commission, Dr. Steve Surujbally said he is convinced that the Commission will get its full complement of staff long before elections day.
Nomination day for the elections will take place later this month across the country.
The Commission also intends to step up its public education drive as it seeks to explain the local elections process. Guyana has not hosted local government elections in over two decades.