The Guyana Elections Commission through its Chairman Retired Justice Claudette Singh has announced the termination of contracts of its Chief Election Officer Keith Lowenfield, Deputy Chief Officer Roxanne Myers, and the Region 4 Returning Officer for General and Regional Elections 2020, Clairmont Mingo whose substantive position is Registration Officer at the GECOM Fort Wellington Registration Office in Region 5. This will take effect from August 18, 2021.
This decision was provided by the Commission’s Chairperson, Justice Claudette Singh at a statutory meeting held on Thursday, August 12, 2021, after weeks of deliberation on the motions brought to the Commission by the government nominated Commissioners seeking the removal of those persons from office.
These are the bases of their dismissal according to Justice Singh:
- that although they hold public/statutory office, they are not public but rather contractual officers. They have no security of tenure and their respective contracts stipulate the terms by which they are bound;
- That these officers exercise the right to enter their respective contract willingly and voluntarily and were therefore aware of the method of termination provided by the respective contracts;
- That it is trite law that not even a court of law can enforce a contract for personal services against an employer terminating the contract of an employee since the proper relief for a breach in an employment contract for personal services lies in damages;
- That in relation to the CEO, clause 9 of his contract stipulate that his services can be terminated by giving him three months’ notice or payment in lieu of;
- That in relation to the DCEO and the RO their contracts stipulate that the Commission may at any time terminate their employment by giving three months’ notice or payment in lieu of.
Further, the Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward said “The officers will be paid three months’ salary in lieu inclusive of all allowances under their respective contract as well as payment for remaining days of vacation leave (if any).”
These actions came after weeks of deliberation on the motions brought to the Commission by the government-nominated Commissioners seeking the removal of those persons from office.