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GECOM interviews candidates for Chief Elections Officer; decision expected in 24 hours

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on Tuesday interviewed local and overseas candidates for the vital post of Chief Elections Commissioner, a top official said.

GECOM Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally said Guyanese would Wednesday know who would be the new CEO- the person who would, among other, things be responsible for announcing election results.

Asked how the process went, he said “the commissioners asked searching questions of all the candidates”.

Surujbally said the commissioners would overnight evaluate the candidates’ performance at the interviews before returning with their decision one day later.

Those who were interviewed are Acting Chief Elections Officer, Calvin Benn; Acting Deputy, Keith Lowenfield; Jamaican Danville Walker and Guyana-born American, Savitri Singh.

Singh and Walker were interviewed virtually via Skype while Benn and Lowenfield faced the seven-member commission literally.

While Walker has helped establish the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ)- the equivalent of GECOM, sources have previously said that the two local candidates were front-runners because they have acquired significant local experience.

The post became vacant last year after Gocool Boodoo’s contract expired and the commission by majority decided not to extend it pending the signing of a new one. Instead, the commission agreed to advertise the vacancy locally and overseas.

Boodoo had been at the centre of controversies surrounding the final results in 2006 that gave Samuel Hinds a geographical seat in Linden and in 2011 that almost awarded a one-seat majority to the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPPC).

After Commissioner Vincent Alexander pointed out to Boodoo that he had used the wrong formula, a recount was done and the PPPC was handed a one-seat minority in the 65-seat House