Ethnic balance fiasco at GECOM troubling (Pt 1)

first_imgDear Editor,The sensitivity of the recent and ongoing ‘ethnic balance fiasco’ at the Guyana Elections Commissions (GECOM) is troubling and a matter of strong national concern. Indeed, the staff composition matter at the centre of the claims is not new, since many related issues were previously raised through several public media and forum, internal to the Commission.From a cursory examination of the published public statements emanating from members of the Commission, including the controversially appointed Chairman, a number of occurrences have been made clear. Among them, one could rationalise the following:1. There was an admitted and confirmed censorship of People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Commissioner Robeson Benn by the Chairman regarding issues he raised; about the need to balance the ethnic composition of employees of GECOM who worked previously and those who are currently being selected to perform elections related tasks.2. Admissions by Chairman Patterson to the claims of Commissioner Benn of ethnic disparity, in his statement to the media of a majority 46 per cent Afro-Guyanese compliment, compared to 21 per cent Indo-Guyanese; 20 per cent Mixed and 12 per cent Amerindians. The difference being the quoted percentage for Afro-Guyanese.3. An accusation by Chairman Patterson of the PPP/C Councillors of injecting ‘race’ into the preparations for Local Government Elections when by his own admission, the situation in GECOM do reflect this position.4. Attempts to defend the existence of the aforementioned facts by Commissioner Vincent Alexander, who was dubiously quoted in his press release as being critical of the approach used by Commissioner Benn and by stating that he is unaware of the Statistics regarding GECOM’s employment, except that it was based on ‘meritocracy’.5. The inherent admission that all of the Commissioners are not being provided with information they should have as decision makers instructing the policies to be implemented by the GECOM Secretariat.Aside from the procedural approach to addressing agenda items at the meetings of the Commission, it is rational for one to decipher that it is at this time that such critical issues must be addressed. In Guyana’s multi-ethnic society, it is irrelevant and somewhat clearly irrational for the Chairman of the GECOM to admit his non-recognition for the required balance in this key functional responsibility.Further, Vincent Alexander has shown his diabolic irrational nature once again, by suggesting that when merit is considered in the selection process, the Afro-Guyanese complement more than double that of any other race. The situation is outright unacceptable and must be objectively remedied.The historical track record of the organisation provides no confidence in terms of the future of a nation, particularly, with the infamous legacy of the People’s National Congress for multiple elections covering decades of failed governance and major hardships for Guyanese. There is indeed a serious justified call for the balancing of, and the selection of more respectful staff at GECOM.Sincerely,Neil Kumarlast_img read more