Home News Beverley Critchlow appointed Assistant Chief Elections Officer at GECOM
As the Guyana Elections Commission prepares for the hosting of Local Government Elections (LGE) later this year, it has appointed long-standing GECOM employee Beverley Critchlow to the post of Assistant Chief Elections Officer (ACEO).
This decision was taken at the Commission’s statutory meeting held on Tuesday.
According to the electoral body, Critchlow’s appointment has emanated from a transparent process that involved all of the Members of the Commission. In fact, it has been noted that all Commissioners – three PPP/C Government-aligned and three from the APNU/AFC Opposition’s side – were availed of the opportunity to interview all of the shortlisted candidates, and thereafter indicate their respective choice to fill the position.
“In this regard, having heard the submissions of all of the six Commissioners relative to the candidate of their respective choice for the position of ACEO, Justice of Appeal (ret’d) Claudette Singh, Chairperson of the Commission, concluded that Mrs. Critchlow’s qualification and experience, as well as her institutional knowledge, placed her at an advantage above the other candidates,” GECOM explained in a statement on Wednesday.
The newly appointed ACEO has been employed with the Election Commission for 20 years, and has acted in the position as ACEO on multiple occasions, with the most recent being during the 2017-2019 period.
It has been noted that the experience Critchlow has garnered in the field of registration and electoral processes, having worked in different areas, including but not limited to the registration of eligible non-resident persons, non-resident balloting, overseeing the operations of 29 Registration Offices and Sub-Offices, preparation of Official Lists of Electors (OLE), extracting names of members of the disciplined forces from the OLE, makes her eminently qualified for the post.
Under direction of the Elections Commission, through the Office of the Deputy Chief Elections Officer, the Assistant Chief Elections Officer is responsible for the smooth functioning of all Divisions/Sections/Units/
Offices within the ambit of the Operations Department.
Earlier this year, GECOM was forced to re-advertise for the positions of ACEO and Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) after it did not receive any ‘proper’ application for these two critical positions at the Secretariat.
Guyana Times was informed at the time that the applications received by GECOM with respect to the vacant positions did not impress some of the GECOM Commissioners. As such, the seven-member Election Commission had taken a decision to publish new advertisements for the two posts.
Since last year, GECOM went out in search of a new CEO, DCEO, Chief Accountant, Legal Officer, and Voter Education Manager. The CEO position has since been occupied by former DCEO Vishnu Persaud, who was sworn-in on December 14, 2021. Persaud was one of two persons who were shortlisted after applying for the job when the vacancy was advertised in October 2021. The decision to select Persaud as the most successful candidate came down to the casting vote by GECOM Chair Justice Claudette Singh, who has since justified her position to endorse him.
Meanwhile, the position of Legal Officer is now occupied by Attorney Kurt Da Silva, who holds a Master of Laws Degree in Public Law from the University of the West Indies. The Commission is yet to appoint a DCEO.
GECOM ended up with these critical vacancies following the dismissals of top electoral officials who were alleged to have been a part of a plot to undermine the results of the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.
In fact, former CEO Keith Lowenfield and his then deputy, Roxanne Myers, along with former Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo, were dismissed from their positions at GECOM on August 12, 2021 following a vote by the seven-member Commission.
These three embattled persons are currently before the courts, facing a number of electoral fraud charges for their alleged attempts to sway the results of the March 2020 General and Regional Elections in favour of the then ruling A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government.
Following a largely smooth polling day on March 2, 2020, Guyana was thrown into a tumultuous five-month political and electoral impasse after the then incumbent APNU/AFC regime attempted to steal the election. It was found during a subsequent national recount process that former Returning Officer Mingo had heavily inflated the votes in favour of the coalition party. (G8)