Stabroek News

Filling the GECOM’s CEO vacancy was needed, not who was hired for the position

- Dear Editor,

Reference is made to Vincent Alexander’s “GECOM’S CEO selection process raises many questions on adherence to procedures” (Dec 16), the critical remarks made about my commentary on Vishnu Persaud (Dec 12) and the Chair of GECOM for her vote hiring Persaud as CEO of the body. I played no role in the selection process. I did not “rout for or tout for Persaud”. My comment was post-selection, not pre-selection. I merely cheered the appointmen­t pointing out he is amply qualified for the position given his experience and academic qualificat­ion. GECOM determined that he was more qualified and better suited for the job than Alexander’s and the PNC’s choice. I praised his appointmen­t given that GECOM has been without a CEO for several months with its work stymied during that period. Filling the vacancy was critically needed and it does not matter to me who was hired for the position. The work (registrati­on

of new voters, giving out IDs, updating of electoral list, preparing for local elections, etc.) of GECOM needs to go on. It is strange that Mr. Alexander now speaks of GECOM‘s decisions on appointmen­ts. He did not query the appointmen­t (in 2014) of Keith Lowenfield by the then Chair, or the Mingo bogus results of the country’s 2020 polls. Did Lowenfield meet his criteria for CEO? When Lowenfield was CEO, the PNC Commission­ers did not question or challenge the functionin­g of GECOM and the decisions of then Chair James Patterson, who was illegally and unconstitu­tionally appointed to that position. And Mr. Alexander knew of this aberration.

Mr. Alexander queried Persaud’s academic qualificat­ion. He contends that Persaud is less qualified and even lacks the criteria (requisite academics and experience, etc.) for the position. I should note that on the issue of qualificat­ion and experience, the high court awarded some $4.5M in damages to Persaud against

Alexander and others (in Chronicle newspaper) who questioned and denigrate his qualificat­ion when he sought the DCEO position. Also, the Ethnic Relations Commission addressed the discrimina­tory way by which Alexander and his colleagues bypassed Persaud for one of their party’s supporters. Persaud scored the highest on the selection criteria for DCEO. The selection criteria for CEO did not make mention of grades; it is not mentioned that a person with higher grades (higher degree) would be more qualified and would have preference over someone with a degree of lower grade. On the role of the Chair, she is entitled to cast a vote. She has that power. It is the decision of the Commission. One can criticize the Commission but not the Chair. Vishnu Persaud stated categorica­lly that he would be neutral. Vincent Alexander’s challenge should therefore be to hold him to that standard, rather than ridiculing him, and maligning the integrity of the Chair.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Guyana