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Gocool Boodoo’s contract can’t be renewed

Gocool Boodoo

Gocool Boodoo’s contract as Chief Elections Officer (CEO) will not be renewed based on legal advice given to Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Dr. Steve Surujbally.

However, the seven-member commission did not meet to decide on Boodoo’s fate either by majority or by consensus because two commissioners associated with the governing Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) were absent. That meant that there was no quorum.

Absent was Attorney-at-Law Jaya Manickchand. Dr. Keshav ‘Bud’ Mangal, who was feeling unwell with flu symptoms, arrived promptly for the meeting but could not wait for repairs to the air conditioning unit to be completed as doing so would have taken at least 90 minutes. “In fact, the Chairman Dr. Surujbally called me later at my home enquiring of my health and offered any assistance that I may need – to which I responded I was using my own well-tried home remeedies and he indicated that the meeting could not proceed because of a lack of quorum and would be rescheduled,” said Mangal in a letter to Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwavces.com).

Surujbally could not be reached for comment.

However, usually reliable sources told Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com) that the opinions by two prominent lawyers stated that Boodoo has no contract, the commission has no obligation to renew the contract, he enjoyed no right or expectation of renewal and that GECOM should advertise the post.

The sources said that Surujbally is expected to table the legal advice before the commission if it meets next week Tuesday. The Chairman is expected to tell fellow commissioners that he would be accepting the advice. Depending on the deliberations, the matter could be put to a vote. If one of the commissioners is absent, Surujbally would be obliged to use his casting vote to break the deadlock.

The resort to legal advice had followed Boodoo’s lawyer writing GECOM, arguing that his client had legitimately expected his contract to be renewed.

But Commission sources have said, among other things, that Boodoo’s expression of interest in contract renewal had been made two weeks after his last contract had expired on April 30.

The Alliance For Change (AFC) and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) have also demanded that Boodoo leaves office because he had allegedly declared an incorrect result in the 2006 election in favour of Samuel Hinds occupying a geographical constituency seat.

In the 2011 election, Boodoo was on the verge of delivering an inaccurate result that would have given the PPPC a one-seat majority in the 65-seat National Assembly.

However, Commissioner Vincent Alexander quickly recognized that Boodoo was using the wrong formula and requested that the calculation be redone.

Addressing the Enmore Martyrs anniversary earlier this month, President Donald Ramotar had urged political parties not to tinker with GECOM because it has been producing democratic elections since 1992.