With rent payments outstanding since January and confronted by several setbacks with key decisions now hanging in the balance because of the absence of important senior functionaries at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the filling of those posts has now become a priority.
But one GECOM Commissioner is not happy with the sloth in ensuring the staff deficiencies are addressed. Among those vacancies is that of the Chief Accountant for which no one currently acts in the position even though it has been vacant for several months.
The other senior vacancies include that of the Chief Elections Officer, a Deputy Chief Elections Officer, a Legal Officer, Research Officer and Logistics Manager.
According to GECOM Commissioner Bibi Shadick, who spoke to the Guyana News Agency by telephone on Wednesday, the seven-member Commission is yet to receive the draft advertisements for these posts.
The Human Resource Manager had reportedly been asked to include details from the job descriptions in those advertisements but weeks later that is still to be done.
“We are committed to filling these most important vacancies but this delay is now affected the entire GECOM.
“There is a real possibility that GECOM is grinding to a halt… we have to move fast to appoint these people,” a frustrated Shadick said.
The Guyana News Agency understands that in the absence of a Chief Accounting Officer, the Ministry of Finance was approached by GECOM to address serious financial issues within the electoral body.
The situation has become so troubling that simple purchases under $100,000 cannot be made because there is no one to authorise it, the Guyana News Agency was informed. Cheques cannot be signed because those signatories are no longer on staff and there is no replacement; in addition, sub-offices of GECOM have had their services disconnected.
Shadick pointed to a more serious situation where the landlords of several office buildings being rented by GECOM have not been paid since January 2021.
Some of those buildings have been rented by GECOM for more than 20 years. Last week, Commissioner Sase Gunraj also lamented the need to fill these senior vacancies soon, contending that the work of GECOM is being crippled.
Gunraj explained that the process of hiring suitable candidates to fill the integral positions involves a public advertisement along with a stringent vetting process before anyone can be considered.
Gunraj noted that the CEO’s position is critical and is the one that needs to be filled immediately as the Secretariat needs the CEO to execute important tasks. The absence of a CEO has forced GECOM to suspend the distribution of Identification Cards as the CEO’s signature is needed on them.