May 31, 2013 News Comments Off on AFC opposed to renewal of Boodoo’s GECOM contract
By Abena Rockcliffe
The Alliance For Change (AFC) yesterday highlighted its position that the party stands categorically opposed to the reappointment of former Chief Elections Officer Gocool Boodoo. AFC Chairman Nigel Hughes sought to give reason for the party’s stance as he cited instances of Boodoo’s lack of effectiveness in that portfolio.
It was noted that Boodoo’s career as Chief Elections Officer (CEO) spans some two decades but he has not secured the confidence of the opposition. Just recently, his contract with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) expired and he had made a request for a renewal of the same. That request has since been under consideration.
However, both A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the AFC—the parties that form the joint parliamentary opposition—have objected to the mere consideration of Boodoo’s reappointment.
Yesterday, Hughes was adamant that Boodoo’s reappointment is not what is best for Guyana. The attorney at law ventured into highlighting the collapse in accuracy that has been reflected in Boodoo’s work over the last two General Elections.
According to Hughes, the former Chief Elections Officer has consistently produced flawed results. He emphasized that of all the elections that AFC has been involved in, the then CEO failed to produce accurate results. Hughes added that, “the former Chief Elections Officer should not be at all eligible for reappointment.”
The party Chairman pointed out that in 2006, the AFC “lost” a seat in Linden that “we should have gotten and the Prime Minister was the immediate beneficiary of the mistake.”
He also reminded of the instance immediately after the 2011 elections when GECOM Commissioner, Vincent Alexander, representing APNU, highlighted a discrepancy in Boodoo’s calculation that had excluded the 25 constituency seats and only taken 40 seats into consideration.
Boodoo’s original calculation had given the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) 33 seats with 48.57 percent of votes, APNU 26 and AFC six. However, the “accurate” calculation resulted in the PPPC being given 32 seats, APNU 26 and AFC seven, giving the opposition the majority in parliament.
Hughes stressed yesterday that Boodoo was about to give the majority of seats in parliament to the government had it not been for Alexander, who pointed out a “basic error.” He said that the AFC is of the firm view that the reappointment of Boodoo would adversely impact the “reputation” of GECOM and its commitment to a fair and transparent process as well as the delivery of accurate results.
Hughes stated that the former CEO’s errors are always consistent “so irrespective of his experience and appropriate qualifications, Boodoo should not be considered.”
Hughes further mentioned that Guyana has a long history of “troubled elections” but whether the process was impaired is a non-issue, “the fact is, he made those mistakes twice.”
AFC Vice Chairman Moses Nagamootoo commented that “it is reckless endangerment for someone in charge of a nation’s election to make a mistake so colossal that it has affected the results and wishes of the electorate.”
Asked about recommendations for the post, Hughes said that the AFC has none, but the party is just opposed to Boodoo.
There were reports that suggestions have been made to have the Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO), Mr Calvin Benn, assume the position of CEO in the interim.
Even though Boodhoo signaled that he wants renewal for another three years, he would have to undergo a staff appraisal before the seven-member Commission votes on his reappointment.
The Commission comprises one AFC representative, two from APNU and three from the government. Should that vote result in a tie, the seventh member of the Commission—the Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally, holds the tie-breaking seat.
Meanwhile, Boodoo remains on leave.
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