Hiring of GECOM staff should be outsourced – PPP Commissioner
Opposition-nominated Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Commissioners are likely to push for external organisations to interview candidates for positions at the elections body, since it appears that the current process is being bypassed.
Commissioner Bibi Shadick, at a press conference Tuesday, said she will be making this recommendation in the future, since it may be the only way to ensure there is credibility in the process of hiring key personnel.
Her suggestion comes days after an investigation by the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) confirmed that GECOM had, for the first time in history, overlooked the top ranked candidate for a position within the organisation. Specifically, the probe found that Vishnu Persaud was ignored even though an internal recruitment process ranked him as the best qualified for the job of Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO).
When the matter was put to vote at the full Commission however, the Government Commissioners and the Chairman voted for the second ranked candidate, Roxanne Myers.
Justice James Patterson told the ERC investigators that he did not vote for Persaud because he had a feeling he was “shifty”.
This explanation, Shadick contended, is unacceptable. “How do you come to the conclusion that the man is shifty when you’ve never met him,” she inquired.
Justice Patterson, according to the ERC report, had failed to provide evidence to substantiate his claims about Persaud.
Further commenting on the report, Commissioner Shadick said she was disappointed with the general conclusion on the allegations of unfair hiring practices at GECOM.
“I am disappointed in the ERC report in that they did not have any documentation to make a finding on hiring practices at GECOM… what they should have said, was that in the absence of information, they could not have made that determination,” she explained.
The ERC said it found no evidence to support claims that GECOM favoured one ethnicity over another in its recruitment process. However, this was because the Human Resources Manager did not cooperate.
Commissioner Robeson Benn believes her lack of participation affected the outcome of the investigation.
Like the ERC Commissioners, he too advocated for that body to have powers to summon persons and to administer penalties for failing to comply.