No decision yet on new CEO as GECOM to continue talks on Friday

Candidates for GECOM CEO position: Leslie Harrow and Vishnu Persaud

The seven-member Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) met today to discuss the interviews conducted on Monday with the two candidates vying for the post of Chief Elections Officer (CEO).

However, those talks have been deferred to Friday where at least one Commissioner is hopeful that these discussions can be concluded, putting GECOM one step closer to appointing a new CEO.

Former GECOM Deputy CEO Vishnu Persaud and former Jamaican electoral official Leslie Harrow were interviewed for the position of GECOM Chief Election Officer. The interviews were conducted before the seven-member Commission, during which the candidates were asked questions about their academic qualifications and experience and tested on their electoral knowledge.

The seven-member Commission, composed of Sase Gunraj, Bibi Shadick and Manoj Narayan on the Government side and Vincent Alexander, Charles Corbin and Desmond Trotman on the Opposition side and Chairperson, Retired Justice Claudette Singh acting as the tie breaker if necessary.

Gunraj told this publication that the Commissioners did not submit their scores at this meeting but rather, this is expected to be done on Friday.

A source had indicated to INews that the decision on who will be the new CEO may likely come down to a vote among the Commissioners.

Persaud, who was employed as GECOM’s DCEO from 2014 to 2017, was overlooked for appointment when he sought to return to the position in 2018. In fact, his non-appointment sparked controversy and even an investigation by the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC), which had concluded six months after that he was overlooked and was more qualified than the person who was chosen over him for the position, Roxanne Myers.

On the other hand, news reports in Jamaica revealed that Leslie Harrow was up until May employed as Head of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in Jamaica. He previously served in several junior and senior positions at the Electoral Commission of Jamaica over his 18-year tenure there.