June 18 2018
Long-serving Commissioner of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Vincent Alexander has challenged Opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo to face-off on the facts surrounding recent hiring of senior personnel at the elections outfit.
In a letter in the Sunday edition of the Kaieteur News, Alexander refuted numerous allegations made by Jagdeo at his Thursday press conference in relation to the non-selection of Vishnu Persaud, the leading candidate for the post of Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO).
The three People’s Progressive Party (PPP) GECOM Commissioners had expressed the view that Persaud, an Indo-Guyanese, did not secure the job because of his ethnicity.
“What we are faced with is the ruse of Jadgeo to have his way even if it means using ethnicity and lies as his trump cards. I challenge Jagdeo to a face-off on the facts,” Alexander stated.
Jagdeo did not immediately respond to queries from Kaieteur News.
When the DCEO position was brought to the level of the Commission, GECOM Chairman, Justice James Patterson (ret’d) cast the deciding vote on the seven-member Commission for Roxanne Prince-Myers. Persaud emerged from the interviews with a score of 76 while the second ranked candidate, Prince-Myers scored 72.
According to Alexander, this is not the first time that a leading candidate for a post at GECOM was not selected.
He stated that a few weeks ago, the position of legal officer engaged the Commission. According to Alexander, there was a hung decision of the interviewing panel, which resulted in the matter being determined by the full Commission.
He stated that in that instance, the Chairman‘s decisive vote coincided with the votes of the PPP Commissioners and the candidate with the highest score was not offered the job. According to Alexander, the affected candidate was an Afro-Guyanese.
“There is therefore no basis on which to conclude that the Chairman has been biased,” Alexander pointed out.
He explained that he opposed Persaud‘s candidacy on the grounds that the other candidate is superior, in addition to the fact that Persaud was appointed as the Public Relations Officer of GECOM when he was not qualified for the job.
“He was elevated to DCEO on the pretense of being the holder of a first degree, here again, he was appointed in a position for which he was not qualified. He himself, in the presence of the entire interviewing panel, admitted that he was not the holder of a first degree or its equivalent. That alone should have made him ineligible,” Alexander stated.
According to Alexander, he never scored an applicant 100%. Jagdeo claimed that the “PNC Commissioners” had scored Indo-Guyanese low and Afro-Guyanese high, to wit, 100%, in an attempt to deny Indo-Guyanese employment at GECOM.
“Let it be known that I never scored anyone 100% or zero percent and that in the interviewing process, the first person to have awarded someone 100% was Commissioner Shadick, Jagdeo`s nominee. Jagdeo is therefore in one swipe lying and indulging in double standards,” Alexander noted.
Alexander had previously indicated that in 2013, on the eve of GECOM‘s consideration of Mr. Gocool Boodoo‘s application for a renewal of contract, the PPP started a campaign accusing the “PNC” Commissioners of ridding GECOM of Indo-Guyanese.
“On that occasion, I responded with the evidence that the Indo-Guyanese, whose contracts had not been renewed, were victims of Boodoo`s initiatives. Boodoo was the one who initiated, and insisted on, the non-renewal of their contracts.
“In 2018, the PPP is attempting the same ruse: play the racial card and have Persaud appointed as Deputy Chief Elections Officer. That ruse having failed, once again, the Leader of the Opposition is spewing his racial venom at the so-called PNC Commissioners,” Alexander pointed out.
The PPP Commissioners have since filed a complaint with the Ethnic Relations Commission.