Probe into GECOM hiring practices incomplete – ERC boss

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ERC Chairman John Smith

The probe launched by the Ethnic Relations Commission’s (ERC) into employment practices at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is still incomplete.

Chairman of the ERC, Dr John Smith in an invited comment said that while the probe was expected to be wrapped up since last year, this was yet to be done.

Retired Justice Stanley Moore, former Deputy Commissioner of Police Lloyd Smith and human resources consultant Jairam Petam were contracted to inquire into claims made by People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) GECOM Commissioners Bibi Shadick, Sase Gunraj and Robeson Benn, that there was an ethnic imbalance at the elections body and hiring practices were being manipulated in favour of one ethnic group.

The team was supposed to complete the probe in three weeks during October. However, the time was extended as the probe widened and to date, there is no indication as to when it will conclude.

Prior to holding the post of Deputy Chief Election Officer, Vishnu Persaud was also Public Relations Officer of GECOM

Last year, the Elections Commission was embroiled in a controversy after it was revealed that former Deputy Chief Elections Officer Vishnu Persaud was overlooked for the position because of his ethnicity despite him being the top ranked candidate during the interview process.

The commission went ahead and hired second ranker, Roxanne Meyers, who is of Afro-descent.

Since then, there have been allegations that candidates applying for posts at GECOM were being rejected and accepted based on their ethnicity and political alignment.

GECOM’s Chairman, Justice James Patterson has defended this, saying that qualifications ultimately trumped race when filling vacancies.

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