GECOM must be professional, uphold democracy – Rohee
Newly appointed Commissioner of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Clement Rohee has highlighted the importance of the electoral body holding to the principles of professionalism, not only in its composition but also in the execution of its mandate.
“Professionalism in GECOM as it is in any institution, that has to do with good governance and democracy is extremely important,” Rohee asserted as he responded to a question fielded by the media, following his official swearing-in at the Office of the President on Tuesday.
He noted that one of his main tasks is to assist with ensuring that the staff at GECOM’s Secretariat portray an image that is the true reflection of the democratic principles on which Guyana is governed.
“It is also going to be important that the staff be professional in their activities and in their attitude towards people as well, so the face of GECOM, it is not so much the Commissioners, it’s the staff because on the ground it is the staff that represents GECOM, it is the GECOM officials, that is the face, the public face of how people perceive elections in Guyana,” he stated.
He made it clear that the ethnic composition of the GECOM staff is not his concern, but the professional conduct of the staff. This is particularly critical, Rohee pointed out, since there are certain perceptions that the commission must work towards removing.
Rohee sees his new role as important to upholding democracy and GECOM as the machinery to guarantee this is realised through the conduct of free and fair elections.
President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, following the passing of Bibi Shadick on Saturday last, appointed Rohee as the new commissioner to represent the interests of the Government on the Commission.
He joins two other PPP/C Commissioners, attorneys Sase Gunraj and Manoj Narayan.
The Constitution allows for the appointment of six commissioners, three appointed by the President acting in his deliberate judgement and three appointed acting in accordance with the Opposition Leader.
In the instance that a member of the Commission is unable to continue serving, that member is replaced in accordance with the established procedures. The President acted in accordance with Article 161 3 (A).
The appointment is effective from Tuesday. Meanwhile, GECOM’s Chair, Justice Claudette Singh, while noting that Shadick has left a void, expressed confidence that Rohee will perform well as a commissioner, with his wealth of institutional knowledge and experience in politics.