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Appointment of new Chief Elections Officer in limbo

The appointment of a new Chief Elections Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has been stalled over the failure by commissioners to agree to a formula for determining who should be short-listed for interviews.

It is now almost three months since 14 persons – including three Guyanese- applied for the job. The locals include acting Chief Elections Officer, Calvin Benn and Acting Deputy Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield.

Gocool Boodoo, whose contract had expired in April 2013 and was not extended or renewed, has not applied for the position. He had been at the centre of a dispute over the formula used to calculate the results of the November 2011 general and regional elections.

Sources said opposition-nominated Commissioners are pushing their counterparts associated with the governing Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) to agree to a structured approach to develop criteria to select who should be interviewed from among those short-listed.

Citing the need for criteria, an official recalled that Leader of the little-known Guyana National Congress (GNC) political party, Samuel Hamer stated that his qualifications included being a Black Belt Karateka.

While the Commission would be meeting on Tuesday (January 28, 2013), that agenda item is highly unlikely to be discussed because Commissioner, Charles Corbin would be in Ecuador for an electoral council meeting of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

The source explained that while the advertisement for the post of CEO had broadly stated the requirements, the criteria for short-listing would address the relevance of qualifications, general managerial experience and specifically electoral managerial elections.

“What they would have done is to see who met the advertised requirements so they were shortlisted on that basis…The commission is yet to determine of those persons shortlisted who would be called for an interview,” the source told Demerara Waves Online News .

Foreign applicants included those with electoral experience at the level of the United Nations and in another’s home country of Jamaica.