Newly appointed Commissioner of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Clement Rohee, is looking to enhance the professionalism of the electoral body.
Rohee, a former Home Affairs Minister and a People’s Progressive Party stalwart, was sworn in as a government-nominated commissioner at GECOM this morning by President Dr Irfaan Ali. He replaced former commissioner, Bibi Shadick, who passed away on Saturday last at the age of 76.
Speaking with reporters after taking his Oath of Office, Rohee explained that having witnessed the tumultuous 2020 General and Regional Elections, there are some priority areas at GECOM that needs to be addressed.
“…The electoral machinery, being extremely professional not only in its composition but also in the conduct of its mandate, pofessionalism in GECOM, as it is in any institution that has to do with good governance and democracy, is extremely important. And I would want to help to make a contribution to ensuring that the staff is…,” he stated.
Rohee added, “So, we need to have staff that reflects what Guyana looks like and this is going to be extremely important.”
Asked whether that reflection is related to the ethnic make-up of the GECOM staff, the newly sworn-in Commissioner had this to say: “I’m speaking about, fundamentally, the professional face of GECOM. It doesn’t necessarily mean the ethnic composition. You can have a multi-ethnic composition of GECOM but the fact is that they all have to present a professional face to the public not only in terms of image but also in terms of what they do, in terms of the concrete activities in the public domain.”
“So, it’s also going to be important for the staff to be professional in the conduct of the activities and the attitude towards people as well. So, the face of GECOM, it’s not so much the commissioners, it’s more the staff because on the ground it is the staff that represents GECOM.”
Rohee, a former Member of Parliament, had served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1992 to 2001, Minister of Trade from 2001 to 2006, and Home Affairs Minister from 2006 to 2015.
He also served as the PPP/C General Secretary from 2013 to 2017.
President Ali expressed confidence that Rohee’s experience, both at the national level and in elections, would help to strengthen GECOM.
“He is no stranger in his pursuit of free and fair elections, democracy and building a country in which the rule of law defines our action and who we are as a people… I’m sure that with his experience, not only at the national level but his previous experience at the Election Commission, will bring great value to the work of the Commission. It would help to strengthen the Commission and, definitely, will benefit our country as a whole,” the Head of State posited.
Meanwhile, GECOM Chair, Justice Retired Claudette Singh, said Rohee will fit in on the Election Commission since he has institutional knowledge and experience in politics.