GECOM Chairman cancels controversial temporary position

Last Updated on Tuesday, 7 February 2023, 22:04 by Denis Chabrol

Aneal Giddings

Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Retired Justice Claudette Singh on Tuesday cancelled the temporary position of ‘Operations Coordinator’, amid a firm stance by the opposition-aligned Elections Commissioners who believed that they managed to convince her that she had no power to do so unilaterally.

Her decision effectively means that  Information Technology Manager Aneal Giddings would no longer be seconded to perform the duties of Operations Coordinator until a Deputy Chief Election Officer is appointed.

Sources said that Chief Election Officer Vishnu Singh would have to coordinate GECOM’s operations for the Local Government Elections (LGE) for the 70 neighbourhood councils and 10 towns that are likely to be held during the second quarter of 2023.

GECOM spokeswoman, Yolanda Ward confirmed that Mr Giddings would no longer be seconded as the position was erased less than one month after it was created. “Having heard the deliberations of the Commissioners on matter, the Chairman made the decision,” Ms Ward told Demerara Waves but said she did not have the details the seven-member commission’s deliberations.

Opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Elections Commissioner Vincent Alexander said the GECOM Chairman indicated that “after listening to the various submissions on the creation of the position of Operations Coordinator,  that Mr Giddings’ appointment should be rescinded from February 8, 2023. “he opposition nominated commissioners argued for weeks that both the creation and appointment were ultra vires,” he said.

Mr Alexander accused governing People’s Progressive Party-aligned Elections Commissioner Clement Rohee of contributing to the delay in appointing a DCEO. “Mr. Rohee once again has not made his submission after promising to do so by last Friday. This is the second time in three weeks that he failed to keep his promise,” Mr Alexander said.

On January 20, 2023, GECOM had said that Mr Giddings had been seconded until the appointment of a DCEO.