WITH the passing of Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) member Bibi Shadick on Saturday, that vacant seat on the seven-member constitutional body has now been filled by Clement Rohee.
Rohee, on Tuesday, was appointed by President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, in keeping with the rules for appointing commission members. The simple but significant ceremony was held at the President’s Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown office.
Shadick occupied a seat on the commission which was constitutionally mandated to be filled by the President acting in his own direct judgement.
In his remarks following the swearing in of the new GECOM Commissioner, President Ali said that Rohee was no stranger to public life, nor was he a stranger to the pursuit of free and fair elections, democracy, and building a country in which the rule of law is preserved.
“I’m sure that his experience not only at the national level but his previous experience at the elections commission will bring great value to the work of the commission. It will help to strengthen the commission, and definitely will benefit our country as a whole,” he expressed.
President Ali went on to say that government will spare no effort in supporting and advancing every opportunity that will strengthen Guyana’s democracy, improve the country’s adherence to the rule of law and foster an environment of respect.
“Elections are important for the evolution and development of countries. The will of the people is the most fundamental right that must be respected, and the Elections Commission is tasked with the serious responsibility of ensuring that everything they do secures and protects the will of the people and advances democracy and keeps our country within the realm of democratic nations,” President Ali noted.
Rohee, the newly appointed constitutional office holder, said he considers his appointment an important one.
“It’s a bedrock matter for the country in the sense that the whole question of official elections and the conduct of elections and the founding principles on which elections are held in the democracy are extremely important,” Rohee told the gathering during his remarks.
He expressed that GECOM, as an electoral machinery, must demonstrate utmost professionalism, not only in its membership and staffing but also in the execution of its mandate of democracy and good governance.
“We know when you go into a polling station or when you do registration, certain perceptions, which I would not wish to detail at this point, tend to emerge.
“So, we need to have a staff that reflects what Guyana looks like and this is going to be extremely important,” Commissioner Rohee noted.
He related that the face of GECOM is not so much the commission, but the staff.
Additionally, GECOM Chairman, Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh expressed confidence in the appointment of Mr Rohee to the now-vacant position, noting his institutional knowledge and experience.
“He knows politics well as a former Minister of Home Affairs, so I expect him to bring his institutional knowledge here,” Chairman Singh said.