President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, this morning, administered the Oath of Office to Manoj Narayan, who will serve as a Government nominated Commissioner to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and Ganga Persaud, who will serve as a member of the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Narayan, an attorney at law by profession, under Article 163 (A) will replace Robeson Benn on the Commission. Benn resigned following his appointment as the Minister of Home Affairs and Member of the National Assembly.
Persaud replaces Ms. Geeta Chandan Edmond, who resigned earlier in the year following her nomination to the Opposition’s list of candidates for the General and Regional Elections.
President Ali, in his remarks, said these appointments are critical in the governance architecture of Guyana. The Head of State said Manoj is a young lawyer, who has already spent a lot of time dealing with electoral matters. Alluding to his Inauguration address, the President said he has spoken about the urgent need to have a comprehensive understanding of what took place over the last five months at the Elections Commission.
“With the appointment of Mr. Manoj on the Commission, I am sure it will help you, the Chairperson and the Commission, to advance the work as you seek not only to address the many issues before you in relation to the concluded elections but more importantly, in the strengthening of the electoral system, as we work towards having an electoral system in which the people of our country can have confidence; and one in which the international community can be comfortable that Guyana has strong democratic institutions that will always act in the best interest of democracy and the people of our country. I know that the task ahead is not easy for any one of you,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Ali noted that Persaud’s appointment comes at a very critical time. The President said the PSC’s work must continue as there are a number of issues that have to be dealt with, including concerns of promotion and advancement in the Public Service.
“As a result, it was critical [for] us to move urgently in filling this vacancy so as to have the work of the PSC proceed and flow in a smooth manner. Mr. Persaud is no stranger to the Public Service. He has experience as a public servant, he has served on the Commission before and he is a former Minister and Permanent Secretary. I have no doubt that he will execute his mandate in a manner that is befitting of the office and that he will be an asset to the Commission. I would like to see greater inclusiveness. I would like to see strengthening of our governance architecture, of our institutions, all aimed at ensuring that people are treated fairly,” the President said.
In addition, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall said the Government is pleased about the appointments since there was a hiatus in the constitutional functions of those organisations.
“We are committed to constitutional governance and ensuring that the Government operates in compliance with the Constitution and the rule of law. We had this vacancy at GECOM that we had to fill. As you know, there are ongoing investigations at GECOM and to facilitate those investigations, it is imperative that GECOM is fully constituted so that decisions can be made reflective of the full Commission,” he said.
Chairwoman of GECOM, Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh was also present at the swearing-in ceremony.