ROs performance was calamitous, exceptionally poor

first_imgDear Editor,Many of the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM’s) Returning Officers (ROs) seriously bungled the Local Government Elections’ (LGE’s) Nomination Day activities. After this under-par and woefully unacceptable performance, there is a heavy, laboured apprehension by the general public as to what might be the outcome of the general GECOM staff performance at the upcoming Disciplined Services voting; also specifically in supervising the full voting on November 12th, 2018.In general, the ROs’ performance was calamitous and exceptionally poor. The circumstances therefore demand answers to many emerging and pertinent questions. It is necessary for the nation to be informed why so many of GECOM’s permanent staff members were employed specifically to work as ROs. As the credibility of the organisation continues to diminish under the watch of imposed Chairman Justice (R’td) James Patterson, no clarifications have been offered by the organisation for the recent embarrassing fiasco.There are convincing public perceptions that there was no proper training conducted for these ROs! If this observation is incorrect, then the following questions must be answered: Who were the trainers? Who did the evaluation? Who sets the test? Who marks the papers? What were the criteria for selection? And who selected the ROs?It is necessary to point out that the Commission is directly responsible for the recruitment and appointment of all staff. Apparently the approval for a particular approach is partially or wholly being dictated by a few select Commissioners and sanctioned by the Chairman. It is imperative that all of the Commissioners pursue this responsibility objectively, impartially, and ensure maximum transparency and accountability.The disenchantment of the PPP/C and other stakeholders in the performance of some ROs on Nomination Day makes it clearer now that when the GECOM Chairman made reference to the recruitment of middle-management staff for the secretariat, the opportunity was opened up and seized by specific individuals to clandestinely employ manipulating cronies.Several statements which emerged from the Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer of GECOM were published in the media regarding the readiness of GECOM to hold Local Government Elections on November 12, 2018. In one instance, the Chairman, James Patterson, is quoted as saying: “It (preparation) is reaching its time post. We have no difficulties at all as regards to what we have to do…We are ready for it (LGE)…just waiting for a declaration as to the date from the relevant minister”.Contrary to the Chairman’s position, however, we are witnessing some amazing advertisements in the various newspapers for temporary field staff to work with GECOM at the Elections. These advertisements for Election Day Staff were published in the print media on several occasions, highlighting the significant quantum of work to be done.Invited respondents to the advertisements were informed that the first closing date was August 02, 2018. This was followed by a repeat of the same advertisement with the new closing date stated as August 11, 2018; the same advertisement was re-published on a third occasion with the closing date stated as August 23, 2018. Same was also repeated on a fourth occasion with the closing date provided as September 30, 2018.The facts presented give broad testimony to the falsity emanating from GECOM. It is quite evident that the Chairman and the Secretariat’s CEO have been making statements that are not revealing of the whole truth, but seek to merely justify their photo opportunities.Further, the additional advertisement for spanking new vehicles, billboards and some other categories of staff imply the need for much required training. Contextually, this informs of much to be achieved before GECOM can realistically signal the level of appropriate readiness that they have insincerely conveyed.While there has been a resounding silence on the recent embarrassing ROs’ debacle by authorised officials of GECOM, it is from inside the ‘belly of the beast that ‘staffers are asking about multi-year agreements along with liabilities from all previous years. Staffers are asking about the land, water, air transportation, along with fuel and lubricants which have been significantly manipulated in the past.There are emerging queries about rental of boats, vehicles, buildings, and generators, even as the food and beverages ‘galore’ for certain caterers are now evolving. It seems that GECOM Secretariat is poised to have another feast that we must all be on the lookout for.As citizens ready themselves for the upcoming elections, caution must be exercised towards the rejection of any clandestine plans by GECOM. We advocate for the necessary, and demand cleansing of the organisation, and wait with a spoon of salt for future statements, if any, coming from the organisation.Sincerely,Neil Kumarlast_img