Mr Gocool Boodoo was never given due process ‒ not even a hearing. Now that all the hot air on the Boodoo matter has cooled down, I hope cooler heads will be prepared to listen to what exactly occurred.
Some time in February, 2013, the Chairman informed the Commission at a statutory meeting that the CEO had written, signalling his intention to continue working as the CEO at the Gecom and that we would have to discuss this later. There was no dissenting voice, not even from Alexander, nothing about the letter being two weeks late, then.
We all agreed that there should be an appraisal and that Boodoo must be given a hearing. The Chairman’s first problem was with the appraisal form which Gecom had been using all the previous years to assess its senior managers and which the Chairman suddenly felt was no longer suitable to assess Mr Boodoo, saying that he would prepare another.
So, Round 1 was about arriving at a suitable form, which took a couple of weeks and much wrangling and on which no agreement was reached. So we decided to go back to the original appraisal form.
Round 2: Who must prepare Mr Boodoo’s appraisal? The Chairman said not him, as Mr Boodoo was serving the entire Commission. But the Commission felt otherwise, because Mr Boodoo was more closely relating to him on the various Gecom daily tasks, and that everything that was supposed to be brought to the Commission, passed through the CEO’s hands to the Chairman, and then to the Commission. Also, as the CEO, Mr Boodoo reported more often to the Chairman than to the Commission, it was believed that he must do the appraisals, but he said not he, and washed his hands off that.
If there was any evidence against Mr Boodoo’s good work or any evidence of malpractice or corruption, etc, I do believe there would have been no hesitation to do the appraisals, but because they have none, no one wanted to bell the cat, especially the Chairman for all his bragging.
By this time March 2013 was coming to an end, and Mr Boodoo was told to take his remaining leave which incidentally was much more than the number of days that remained before his contract expired. We spent quite some time discussing whether to pay for the remaining days of his leave and despite the fact that we eventually agreed to pay, I do not believe that he has been paid as yet ‒ at least not by the last meeting of August 13.
In the month of April, 2013, again nothing was done about Mr Boodoo’s contract renewal, as the Chairman and most Commissioners were involved with observer missions, mainly in South America.
Then, in May it was agreed that the Commissioners should put in writing the reasons as to whether Mr Boodoo’s contract should be renewed or not. Everyone agreed except Commissioner Sandra Jones, who had written the Commission, stating that the CEO’s position was now vacant and we must now advertise, and if Mr Boodoo wanted he could reapply. How ingenious! We did not agree to that as the Chairman said he wanted transparency (whatever that means!) and still there was no discussion on the merit or demerit of having Mr Boodoo back, despite the fact that some of us did give our opinions in writing, but were not allowed to read same.
Eventually, Mr Boodoo’s writ arrived stating that as per his contract, we must use the yearly appraisals that the Commission was supposed to use and never did, to appraise him and no others. The Commission did no yearly appraisal because there was no need to do so as his work was excellent.
Writs were finally not allowed by the Judge, then the Chairman at the next meeting in July called for a vote, ie, for or against the renewal of Mr Boodoo’s contract. Can you imagine this! Just like that ‒ no discussion, no hearing given to Mr Boodoo ‒ nothing ‒ just vote.
So it was three for and three against and the Chairman cast his vote against him and Mr Boodoo was gone without due process being done; without giving him a hearing as was agreed, and no appraisal was ever done as per his contract agreement.
I must emphasize that from February 2013-July 2013 no discussion took place at any statutory meeting of the Commission on the work done by Mr Boodoo, also, no appraisal was ever done. No accusation was thrown about how Mr Boodoo did his work. Not even the ‘great mistake’ that Commissioner Alexander kept harping on about all the time in the press and not at any meeting, because he knew that all of us including the Chairman agreed it was a mistake at that time in December, 2011. Also, in his file there is no warning letter of any indiscretion or malpractice.
Therefore, I believe the reason why the Chairman did not allow due process for Mr Boodoo, was because he knew all his accusations, etc, are just that, accusations. He cannot to this day when asked, produce any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Mr Boodoo. All he has is anecdotes, innuendos and conjectures, nothing else. Let the Chairman and all the others who are supporting him produce what evidence they have against Mr Boodoo that would have warranted a refusal to renew his contract.
The hurtful part of this was that Mr Boodoo did give yeoman service to Gecom, and ran three elections that everyone including foreign observers declared free and fair. In addition, the OLE was above board. A few years back, because of the excellent work being done at Gecom, the Chairman was all praise for Mr Boodoo and his staff, so much so, that he was and is making desperate efforts to seek ISO certification in the electoral field. Now after all his hard and dedicated service to Gecom, for Mr Boodoo to be treated in this manner is a shame and disgrace to the Chairman, and the Commissioners.