Fourteen applications received for chief elections officer post

Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) Dr Steve Surujbally said that 14 applications for the vacant position of Chief Elections Officer (CEO) have been received and that the applicants – three of whom are from overseas – will be interviewed in the near future with a view to arriving at a shortlist from which one will be selected.

Speaking to the media following a function at the Office of the President yesterday, Surujbally said that the final date for the submission of applications was September 30.

“We have received 14 applications. The commission will shortlist the best candidates, interview them and then make the decision,” said Surujbally.

Steve Surujbally
Steve Surujbally

The vacancy, for which advertisements began running in August, came about following the sacking of then CEO Gocool Boodoo on July 16. It was a huge error in Boodoo’s handling of the 2011 general election result, which led to Gecom by a majority vote deciding against the renewal of his contract.

In a letter to the editor of this newspaper, Com-missioner Vincent Alexander had explained why the actions of Boodoo with regard to the elections results could not have been made in error but a deliberate attempt to give the PPP a clear majority. While PPP-nominated commissioners voted to retain Boodoo, opposition-nominated commissioners voted not to renew Boodoo’s contract. Chairman of Gecom Dr Steve Surujbally cast the deciding vote against Boodoo breaking the deadlock.

“Every day, there is someone referring to Boodoo’s action, in his preparation of the results of the 2011 elections, as a mistake. There was no mistake. Mr Boodoo was singularly responsible for converting the vote count into seats. This was not his first exposure to the task. It was his third. There is only one formula for converting the votes into seats,” he wrote in a letter on July 11.

“How could it be a mistake if a factor in the formula is changed? There was no error of calculation. Sixty-five replaced forty in the formula. Let it be known that no calculations were presented to the commission for scrutiny. Signed declarations were presented. There was nothing for the naked eye to discern,” he said.

He wrote that it was his academic knowledge of the system and the fact that he constantly explained it to his students equipped him to discern the false declaration. “When challenged, Mr Boodoo responded that he was right and was presenting the correct results,” he wrote.

According to Gecom’s advertisement, the CEO is required to play the key leadership role in the secretariat of Gecom with responsibility for implementing all aspects of its operations, and ensuring that results achieved are consistent with the laws of Guyana and the policies determined by the chairman and commission. It also said that the CEO also acts as the primary contact between Gecom and the staff of the secretariat.

It said that the CEO will also participate in the representation of the commission’s policies and activities in interactions with stakeholders, and other interest groups, including political parties, NGOs, donor agencies, international agencies and institutions and individuals in matters relating directly to Gecom’s operations.

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