The selection of Vishnu Persaud as the new Chief Elections Officer (CEO)/Commissioner of Registration is not sitting well with the main Parliamentary Opposition, the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC). In fact, the coalition party is convinced that Persaud is not suited for the job, says Leader Joseph Harmon. He contends that the decision was political and accused the Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (retired) Claudette Singh of shifting the goalpost to accommodate the governing People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).
“[It] was an obvious political decision which clearly ignored the requirements as set out by the Guyana Elections Commission itself in its advertisement for the position,” he said.
GECOM, earlier today, said that its Chairperson, Justice (retired) Claudette Singh endorsed the successful applicant having heard the Commissioners and having read the endorsement of the former Chairman Dr. Steve Surujbally. According to the statement, Justice Singh posited that Persaud is knowledgeable not only with the understanding and management of the work of the CEO’s office and the operational functions of the Secretariat, but also with the geography of Guyana’s 10 Administrative Regions.
But Harmon scoffed at the “justification”, noting that those requirements were not listed in the advertisement of the post. He said, “If working at GECOM for some years and knowing the geography of Guyana’s 10 Administration Regions were the prerequisites for this position, then GECOM should have said so publicly.”
He concluded that GECOM deviated from its own requirements and Justice Singh arbitrarily endorsed it. Harmon claimed that Justice Singh “shifted the goalpost and changed the rules of the game to suit the [governing] People’s Progressive Party.”
“The Chairman of GECOM has shown that she cannot be impartial and is willing to continue to use her position to further place the entire GECOM into a tenuous position. Guyanese’s confidence in GECOM has been struck another blow by this political decision by the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission.”
Harmon said that the Coalition “strongly disapproves” within the decision “as Persaud is not the best person qualified and competent for the job”.
Nevertheless, the Opposition Leader assured that the APNU+AFC will hold Persaud to the “standards of fairness, nonpartisan, unbiased and transparent decision-making”.
The former CEO, Keith Lowenfield is before the courts after he was implicated in alleged attempts to rig the March 2020 election in favour of the APNU+AFC.