GECOM short of 1623 staff for E-Day; Surujbally says “retards” not being hired

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By Jomo Paul

CEO of GECOM, Keith Lowenfield and Chairman Dr Steve Surujbally.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – As preparations for the May 11 polls continue to accelerate, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is short of a number of staff for different posts for the day that Guyana’s electorate takes to the polls.

GECOM’s Chief Election Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield made the confirmation at a press conference on Wednesday, February 18 at Cara Lodge in Quamina Street, Georgetown.

According to Lowenfield, the elections commission is short of some 1623 persons to work on elections day but said that the issue is bound to be addressed as the hiring process has not yet concluded.

He said that the full complement of staff needed to adequately serve the 2260 polling stations on May 11 would amount to some 12,000 persons who would be trained by the electoral body.

According to Lowenfield, GECOM intends to conduct continuous training exercises to ensure that it reaches the required amount, noting that he is confident that the desired target will be met.

He pointed out that at present GECOM has close to 1000 applications from persons that will be looked at over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of GECOM Dr Steve Surujbally made it clear that while the Body is short of staff for poll day, it will not be hiring persons that do not satisfy the perquisite qualification criteria.

This is against the backdrop of concerns raised about the qualification of persons that the electoral body will be hiring to be a part of its operations on May 11.

Dr Surujbally said “it’s not like if we’re taking some retards and making them into polling staff.”

GECOM has already assured that the Commission’s employment process will be guided by established employment best practices towards ensuring that the best candidates with the desired knowledge, skills and experience be appointed to the various positions that are pertinent and specific to elections management.