GECOM Chair explains decision to fire Lowenfield, Myers and Mingo

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Justice Claudette Singh

Full statement from the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM)

GECOM Terminates CEO, DCEO and Region 4 Returning Officer’s Employment Contracts with effect from August 18, 2021

12 August 2021, GEORGETOWN –The Guyana Elections Commission has decided to terminate the contracts of the agency’s Chief Election Officer, Mr. Keith Lowenfield, Deputy Chief Election Officer, Ms. Roxanne Myers and the Region 4 Returning Officer for General and Regional Elections 2020, Mr. Clairmont Mingo whose substantive position is Registration Officer at the GECOM Fort Wellington Registration Office in Region 5.

This decision was provided by the Commission’s Chairperson, Justice Claudette Singh at a statutory meeting held on Thursday, August 12, 2021 after weeks of deliberation on the motions brought to the Commission by the government nominated Commissioners seeking the removal of those persons from office.

Justice Singh posited:
1. that although they hold public / statutory office, they are not public but rather contractual officers. They have no security of tenure and their respective contracts stipulate the terms by which they are bound;
2. That these officers exercise the right to enter their respective contract willingly and voluntarily and were therefore aware of the method of termination provided by the respective contracts;
3. That it is trite law that not even a court of law can enforce a contract for personal services against an employer terminating the contract of an employee since the proper relief for a breach in an employment contract for personal services lies in damages;
4. That in relation to the CEO, clause 9 of his contract stipulate that his services can be terminated by giving him three months’ notice or payment in lieu of;
5. That in relation to the DCEO and the RO their contracts stipulate that the Commission may at anytime terminate their employment by giving three months’ notice or payment in lieu of.

Accordingly, the officers will be paid three months’ salary in lieu inclusive of all allowances under their respective contract as well as payment for remaining days of vacation leave (if any).