No ‘proper’ applications – GECOM to readvertise for DCEO, ACEO

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has taken a decision to readvertise the Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) and Assistant CEO (ACEO) positions, as it pushes to fill important posts left vacant since last year.
In an interview, GECOM Commissioner Bibi Shadick informed Guyana Times what transpired at Tuesday’s statutory meeting. She explained that a decision was taken to advertise the two positions, although she could not say exactly when this would be done.

GECOM Chair, Retired Justice Claudette Singh

“So, we have readvertised for Chief Accountant. And the advertisements will go out back for DCEO and ACEO… I know the decision was taken to readvertise. When that will happen is for them to work out,” she explained.
While Shadick did not say why the positions have to be readvertised, sources privy to the Commission’s discussions had explained to this publication that the first round of applications received by GECOM with respect to the two positions did not impress some Commissioners. In fact, those applications were described as not “proper”.
Since last year, GECOM has been searching for a new CEO, DCEO, Chief Accountant, Legal Officer and Voter Education Manager. The CEO position has since been filled 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 came down to the casting vote by GECOM Chair, Retired Justice Claudette Singh, who has since justified her endorsement of him.
The only other position to have been filled was that of Legal Officer. Last month, Attorney-at-Law Kurt Da Silva was appointed to the position. He holds a Master of Laws Degree in Public Law from the University of the West Indies (UWI).
After being called to the Guyana Bar, he served as the Judicial Research Assistant for acting Chief Justice Roxane George and other High Court Judges from 2017 to 2019.
Prior to Da Silva’s appointment, Attorney-at-Law Excellence Dazzell served as GECOM’s Legal Officer. It was announced in June 2021 that she, along with then Chief Accountant Joseph Eastman, had resigned over contractual issues. GECOM is presently advertising for a new Chief Accountant.

Debunking PNCR claims
GECOM is presently in the midst of continuous registration, which started early in March and is being done at all 28 permanent registration offices in order to update the List of Electors and pave the way for the hosting of Local Government Elections (LGE).
During a recent press conference, People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Leader Aubrey Norton had made claims that GECOM was registering Venezuelan migrants not entitled to vote.
While this matter did not come up at the meeting, Shadick did address it during the interview. She debunked such claims as untrue and explained that there were Venezuelans of Guyanese lineage who, once they satisfy the requirements, could be registered.
“There’s no way, with all you have to go through at GRO, that you can have false registration. Because the law says, a person of Guyanese citizenship, who – even if they lived in Venezuela for the last 20 years, doesn’t lose their Guyanese citizenship.
“And if they got five children, and those children got grandchildren, all those children are entitled to be registered as Guyanese. And then their children would also be entitled. The process is law,” she explained. (G3)