GECOM appoints Aneal Giddings as new Deputy Chief Elections Officer, despite APNU+AFC Commissioners’ objections

Last Updated on Tuesday, 4 April 2023, 16:11 by Denis Chabrol

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on Tuesday appointed Information Technology (IT) Manager Aneal Giddings to the post of Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) by a majority 4-3 decision, raising fresh concerns about whether the Chairman of that seven-member body is impartial.

Election Commissioners Vincent Alexander and Attorney-at-Law Sase Gunraj separately confirmed that Mr Giddings is the new DCEO.

Mr Gunraj, a People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC)-aligned Elections Commissioner, confirmed that he and his two other colleagues along with the GECOM Chairman voted in favour of Mr Giddings.

But Mr Alexander said the application process was fixed to shut out GECOM’s Voter Registration Manager, Melanie Marshall from being appointed to the number two administrative post of that election management body. He said initially only Ms Marshall had applied in keeping with the five-year required experience but the application process was reopened and Mr Giddings applied but he did not have the duration of experience which now stands at 3 years, 9 months. “It should be noted that the interviews were inordinately delayed by approximately one year and it is now being argued that Mr Giddings has  four years and nine months experience. As much as this is contrived, he still has not met the stipulated years of experience.  No one in the process has contested or can contest that fact.

The decision to appoint him has been justified from the standpoint that he is a better candidate than Ms. Marshal.  In other words, the criterion of experience has been thrown out of the window and the baseless ruling out of Ms. Marshal is the basis for choosing a candidate, Mr. Giddings, who clearly has not met the criterion,” Mr Alexander said.
Mr Alexander charged that, “it is clear that the PPP/C appointed commissioners are on a mission to foist candidates of their choice on GECOM with the Chair being complicit.” Noting that was not the first time that such a situation had occurred, he added that “these occurrences bring into question GECOM`s fitness for purpose as an impartial electoral body.”
Mr Gunraj did not immediately say why he thought Mr Giddings was the better candidate.
Opposition Election Commissioner Desmond Trotman on Monday said Mr Giddings should not have been considered because he had moved out GECOM’s server from the Region Four Returning Office in March 2020 without the permission of the then Deputy Chief Elections Officer Roxanne Myers.
Previously, the GECOM Chairman had seconded Mr Giddings in late February to the created post of Operations Manager until a DCEO was appointed, but under pressure from the opposition commissioners  she scrapped that appointment.