GECOM’s elections staff complain of delayed salaries

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Temporary employees of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) who were hired in preparation for the polls have claimed that they are yet to be paid for the month of September, with no response on when these payments will be made.

One of the encoders contacted this publication, stating that she began working since August for the entity. In September, they were given a stipend but it has been two weeks since the deadline passed for them to be paid.

“I am a temporary encoder/verifier for the Guyana Elections Commission. I have been working there since the 25th August. During the month of September, they gave us a stipend of like $15,000. It varies with different persons. This was already the second week in October and we haven’t even received our salary as yet,” she explained.

According to the woman (name withheld), she contacted the Accounts Department of the Commission on numerous occasions but was told that the money will be paid eventually. There are other persons along with her who have been facing the same issue.

“Every time we call, they always telling us the next day, the other day. Some people don’t even have passage to reach to work and every time you call, they saying that ‘you will get your money’. It’s very frustrating because some of us have our children to look after and they just get us around and around”.

<<<INews>>> understands that the temporary employees are under a different arrangement than that of the permanent workers. They were supposed to be paid on September 30.

“They told us that we’re temporary staff and we have to work out up to the 30th September before our time sheet can go in. Everyone was okay with that but this is the second week in October and they haven’t even given us a response”.

This online news outlet attempted to contact GECOM’s Public Relations Officer for a comment on the matter but calls went unanswered.

Last year, Finance Minister Winston Jordan had announced that $5.4 billion has been allocated in the 2019 Budget for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to hold the 2020 General and Regional Elections. During his budget presentation in the National Assembly that afternoon, Jordan explained that of this amount, nearly three billion will go towards preparations for the elections.

GECOM has announced that the countrywide Claims and Objections period will be conducted at all Registration Offices countrywide and will conclude on November 18. However, persons have until November 11 to make a claim to be included on the list if they are a Guyanese citizen by birth, descent, naturalisation or registration, 18 years or older or will attain the age of eighteen by December 31, 2019.