The recent disclosure in the print and electronic media does require some comment by me on the performance and renewal of the contract of the Chief Executive Officer of Gecom, Mr Gocool Boodoo.
On the 21st May, 2013 the full Commission took a decision at its 391st Statutory Meeting for each Commissioner to submit their appraisal of the CEO for discussion and decision ‒ Page 7-7.18: “In view of the foregoing discussions on the matter at hand, the Chairman queried whether the Commissioners preferred to document why Mr. Boodoo’s contract should be renewed or not and the various documents should be reviewed to arrive at a decision. This position was endorsed by Mr. Alexander and accepted by the Commissioners. Accordingly, it was agreed that the Commissioners will document and present their respective positions which will be discussed at the 391st Statutory Meeting on Tuesday May 28, 2013.”
At a meeting of June 11, 2013, my appraisal was circulated and accepted by all Commissioners including the Chairman for subsequent action ‒ see Minutes of Statutory Meeting 392 held on June 11, 2013.
My colleague, Commissioner Alexander in his various pronouncements omitted the following:
• All Commissioners present in the boardroom at Gecom awaiting the results of the 2011 General and Regional Elections from the CEO, Mr Gocool Boodoo, who was receiving results from the Returning Officers from all regions of Guyana and through the IT Department and who was being assisted by his staff for the final tabulation and allocation of seats, were under pressure from the Chairman, Dr S Surujbally and his PRO Vishnu Persaud, as they had caused to be assembled at the Pegasus Hotel Media Centre, international observers, heads of commissions, various media, etc, for the CEO’s announcement at 1 o’clock, then 2 o’clock then 3’ o’clock, as we all participated in the process of ‘getting it right’ to give the Commission’s approval for the announcements. Some heads of observer missions had ongoing reservations to fly out of Guyana, etc, that same day
• My colleague Commissioner Alexander, who once was Director of Elections under the PNC, also omitted in his disclosure that the Returning Officer, Mr Farley Sobers, for Region III, came to the full Commission one week after the declaration of final results and allocation of seats, and apologized for leaving out seven pages of results covering some 19 polling places in his tabulation of results for Region 3, which he gave in his declaration of results, and which had to be accepted by the CEO for his final tabulation.
• All of these are documented in our minutes which were subsequently adopted.
• I will also reveal that Com-missioners participated in a similar exercise in the 2001 General and Regional Elections under Chairman Major General Joe Singh (retd) and that when the CEO, Mr Gocool Boodoo made his declaration, former Commissioner Haslyn Parris, who had participated fully in that process, was asked at Congress Place why he had approved these results and he indicated they were free and fair. He was subsequently physically assaulted and his vehicle damaged at Congress Place. In fact he came to a subsequent Commission meeting and reported what had happened to him in tears. His vehicle was subsequently repaired at Gecom’s expense. Maybe my colleague Commissioner Alexander can recall that incident, even if he had another role in the process and has been silent until now.
• I will also reveal that I had on many occasions told Chairman Surujbally that he was the nexus between us six Commissioners and Secretariat staff, but whenever I pointed out any deficiencies, etc, within the Secretariat staff he always exploded, “Leave my boys alone; they are the techicons; let them do their work.”
With respect to the CEO’s revelation that the Chairman Dr S Surujbally, went with Gecom’s vehicles on a jaunt to Lethem and for Rodeo 2006 with British High Commissioner S Hiscock and family at Gecom’s expense and incurred damage to that vehicle, I wish to support the CEO as I was also in Lethem at that time with my own private vehicle at my own expense.
In fact I encountered Dr Surujbally at the Pirara Ranch House with Gecom’s vehicle as I was also on a trip in the area with family and friends in my own personal vehicle as guests of Mr Vic Oditt, the owner of Pirara Ranch.
I wish to state that I can confirm the facts as set out in the CEO’s response as contained in his letter of Monday July 29th, 2013.
For those who wish to read my appraisal, as requested by the full Commission, I am prepared to justify my vote for the CEO’s renewal of contract.
Dr K Mangal