By Svetlana Marshall
Vishnu Persaud, who in 2018 was rejected by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for the post of Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO), has reemerged as the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C)-aligned Commissioners’ top nominee for the post of Chief Elections Officer (CEO) from a list of 20 applicants, while the Opposition-nominated Commissioners selected St. Kitts’ Eugene Petty.
Village Voice News was reliably informed that during Tuesday’s meeting of the Elections Commission, the PPP/C nominated Commissioners – Bibi Shadick, Sase Gunraj and Manoj Narayan – submitted a list of six nominees for the position of CEO with Vishnu Persaud – a former Public Relations Officer at the Commission – topping the list.
GECOM’s Information Technology Manager Aneal Giddings is the PPP/C’s nominated Commissioners’ number two pick for the position, however, aside for not having 10 years experience in Electoral Management, Giddings comes with baggage.
In 2020, the GECOM official found himself at the heart of the controversies surrounding the Electoral Crisis. The A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) had called on the Elections Commission to have Giddings removed from the tabulation process on the basis that he was allegedly involved in a secret meeting with Dr. Frank Anthony and Sasenarine Singh at the National Recount Centre.
St. Kitts’ Eugene Petty, Deodat Persaud, Dr. Kurt Clarke from the US and Leslie Harrow from Jamaica are the other applicants who were shortlisted by the PPP/C-nominated commissioners for the CEO post.
Notably, the Opposition-nominated Commissioners – Vincent Alexander, Desmond Trotman and Charles Corbin – submitted only three nominees from the list of 20 applicants – Petty, Harrow and Dr. Clarke – all of whom are foreign nationals.
Based on the requirements set by GECOM, Candidates for the CEO post, must have a Post Graduate Degree in Public Administration, Law, Management or relevant discipline from a reputable and recognized institution, and specific training and verifiable experience in managing election systems along with at least 10 years experience in a senior management position overseeing and directing diverse operations aimed at achieving targets within specific deadlines. Additionally, they are required to have at least 10 years experience in Management of National Elections and Election Systems.
Now that the two sides have submitted their “shortlists” from the pool of applications, the Commission is expected to decide on the way forward next week, Village Voice News was told.
Additionally, the PPP/C-nominated commissioners submitted four names for the Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) post – Melanie Marshall, Neil Bacchus, Mohamed Arjoon and Deodat Persaud – while the Opposition nominated Commissioners submitted only two – Melanie Marshall and Deodat Persaud.
Further, Delon Clarke, Nolan Jervis, Colin April, Melanie Marshall, Natasha Grenion Dipchand, Deolall Ramlall, Deodat Persaud and Andrea Sparman were shortlisted by the Opposition-nominated Commissioners for the Assistant Chief Elections Officer (ACEO) post.
In the case of the PPP/C-nominated Commissioners, Noland Jervis, Melanie Marshall, Paul Jaisingh, Mohamed Arjoon, Neil Bacchus, Deolall Ramlall and Deodat Persaud were shortlisted for the ACEO post.
While the PPP/C Commissioners shortlisted the applicants for the posts of Legal Officer, Chief Accountant, Civic and Voter Education Manager and Logistics Manager, the Opposition Commissioners are expected to do so next week Tuesday.