Hours after the Guyana Elections Commission announced the selection of Vishu Persaud for the position of Chief Election Officer, Opposition Leader Joe Harmon said the GECOM Chairman, Justice Claudette Singh has once again changed requirements to suit a particular decision.
Harmon said the Chairman has ignored the requirements set out by the Commission itself for the position and has based her decision to support the hiring of Persaud on his knowledge of the Commission’s operations and the ten regions of Guyana.
“If working at GECOM for some years and knowing the geography of Guyana, Guyana’s ten administrative regions, were the pre-requisites for this position, then GECOM should have said so publicly. The Chairman of GECOM yet again shifted the goal post and changed the rules of the game to suit the People’s Progressive Party. The Chairman of GECOM has shown that she cannot be impartial and is willing to continue to use her position to further place the entire Commission into a tenuous position. Guyanese confidence in GECOM has been struck another blow by this political decision by the Chairman of the Elections Commission”, Harmon said in a statement.
Over 20 persons applied for the Chief Election Officer’s job. The Commissioners were asked to shortlist their choices from the field and that was broken down to six applicants. The Commissioners further reduced the field of applicants, bringing it down to Persaud who served the Commission previously as PR Officer then Deputy CEO, and a former Jamaican Election Official.
The Opposition nominated Commissioners have always maintained that based on the requirements that the Commission itself approved, Persaud should not have even been considered in the running for the top position.
Opposition Leader Joe Harmon said the APNU+AFC Coalition disapproves of the hiring of Vishnu Persaud for the post.
The Opposition Leader said, “in the circumstance, we wish to put on notice that Mr. Persaud in the performance of his duties, will be held to the standards of fairness, non-partisan, unbiased and transparent decision making”.
The Opposition had been pushing for an independent team to conduct the interviews for the top GECOM spot and make recommendations to the Commission, but that suggestion was shut down by the Chairman of the Commission and the PPP nominated members.
Persaud is expected to begin his work at the Commission as early as next week.