Commissioner Benn needs to present evidence of ethnic imbalance, provide solutions

Dear Editor,

A few years ago, on the eve of the determination of Gocool Boodoo`s contract as the Chief Election Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission, the People`s Progressive Party took to the media accusing the “PNCR” Commissioners of targeting Indo-Guyanese for dismissal. On that occasion I was forced to break my silence. I made it known publicly that it was Gocool Boodoo who initiated and insisted on the dismissal of two Indo-Guyanese senior staffers of GECOM.

On that occasion, the PPP`s resort to ethnic politics, to have Boodoo retained by GECOM, did not work. Boodoo`s contract was not renewed and GECOM no longer had to contend with a CEO who on two occasions, 2006 and 2011, personally presented and vowed for the wrong results of those elections.

Now, on the eve of the determination of Vishnu Persaud`s retention by GECOM, the PPP in the person of spin-doctor Roger Luncheon has once again employed the said approach by going to the media and purporting to have been informed that the PNC commissioners are “Giving low to zero scores to candidates of Indian origin” and “Finding extraneous reasons for eliminating top rank candidates of Indian origin.”  

There are two issues at hand, here. 1. There is no such thing as party commissioners, although that is the exact way that the commissioners appointed by Jagdeo allow themselves to be described. In fact, they act as party representatives rather than constitutional officers nominated by the Leader of the Opposition. They even turn-up at Jagdeo`s political press conferences to take partisan positions on matters pertaining to GECOM. 2. Since when is Mr. Desmond Trotman a PNC or its representative? Mr. Trotman, of the WPA, was appointed by the President after consultations with his coalition partners. It is important to note that Trotman was nominated to be a commissioner after his party had publicly indicated that it would not support or condone rigging of the elections. It is my understanding that Trotman was one of the persons who crafted WPA’s statement prior to its release. To label Trotman as a PNC can only be an attempt to mobilize support on the usual anti-PNC and associated ethnic politics of the PPP.

I will not be drawn into the unethical behaviour of discussing the Vishnu Persaud matter in public since it is still, as I write this letter, to be determined by the Commission. However, it would be remiss of me if I did not disclose that the granting of high and low scores including perfect scores is a precedent created by a PPP-nominated commissioner. Luncheon must be judging others by the known standards of his colleagues.

To date, three potential employees have been identified by GECOM. Of the three, one, who has been identified to fill the most critical of the positions is an Indo-Guyanese. This position has been the source of much controversy in the past, yet the so-called PNC commissioners also gave the nod to the Indo-Guyanese.

If Commissioner Benn, who is the main protagonist of the ethnic balance mantra, is serious, he needs to come up with an evidential basis for his cry and provide concrete solutions in support of his proposition, rather than providing fodder for the politicians.

Yours faithfully,

Vincent Alexander

GECOM Commissioner

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