Top-ranked candidate and former Deputy Chief Executive Officer (DCEO) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Vishnu Persaud, who was overlooked for appointment as the Commission’s new DCEO, has broken his silence following the revelations and concerns raised by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP)-nominated Commissioners that there may be ethnic and employment discrimination occurring at the constitutional entity.
Persaud, who is currently unemployed, told this media group that he was now contemplating his next step following the GECOM decision to not appoint him to serve a second stint as its DCEO even though he was asked to reapply to be considered for the post as a new applicant.
Persaud held the post of GECOM’s acting DCEO for over three years, but his contract, like several other senior functionaries’, was not renewed and was allowed to expire since GECOM was without a Chairman following the resignation of Dr Steve Surujbally in 2016.
“I have still not come to any position as to what to do or not to do. I know that I have to move on, because I have a family to provide for,” Persaud remarked as he explained that he would rather not share his personal thoughts or emotions on the outcome of the process, which is being criticised by observers.
Persaud was adamant that GECOM was constitutionally mandated and authorised to hire the appropriate staff with the right skill set to complete various tasks and fill established vacancies. He said, “Whether the Commission is right or wrong, it has made a decision.”
Asked whether he felt that the decision taken by the Commission was fair or justified, Persaud said that he “will not go there”, because he does not believe that adopting a confrontational approach would change the course of what has been decided.
Questioned further as to whether he believes that some of the arguments put forward for his non-selection or reappointment have any merit, the former DCEO defended his track record.
“I have always done my work professionally. I have never had racial or political bias in my work. I have never showed any … and I would not want to make a comment that would cast a shadow on my past record,” he insisted.
He also appealed for those who were making comments which are false and not factual about his previous stint at GECOM to desist from doing so, as he stoutly defended his performance at every level of assignment.
“I would ask those people who are seeking to cast aspersions on my reputation to refrain from doing so and judge me on the basis of what you know of me and not on what is perceived,” he proffered.
He denied being involved with any political party or skulduggery during his tenure and argued strongly that he is a career professional and someone dedicated to very high standards.
“As far as I am aware, I have never ever been cautioned about a failure to conduct myself in a professional, efficient and disciplined manner…,” he remarked.
On Tuesday, for a second time in two weeks, the PPP-nominated GECOM Commissioners walked out of a meeting with the other Commissioners.
The Commissioners accused current Chairman retired Justice James Patterson of using his deciding vote to block the appointment of Persaud, in favour of someone who was scored less by interviewers. (Michael Younge)