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Query over new EBC Chief Election Officer

The trinidad Guardian / The Public Service Commission must explain why it appointed a junior officer on contract-and who’s the first cousin of the Public Administration Minister-to be the Election and Boundaries Commission’s new Chief Election Officer, says UNC Senator Wade Mark.

Mark called for clarification on the situation during yesterday’s Senate debate on the 2018 Budget.

“There’s a clear and present danger of Government undermining independent institutions-an attempt to hijack democracy,” he said.

“Our information is the Public Service Commission (PSC) recently took this unprecedented astonishing decision to appoint this person as EBC’s chief election officer. We want clarification. Why is PSC breaking well-established regulations?” he asked.

EBC officials said Chief Elections Officer was one Fern Narcis who was appointed about a month ago. They couldn’t comment on the matter including if she was the first cousin of the Public Administration Minister Maxie Cuffie. Narcis and other senior EBC officers within the CEO’s division weren’t available yesterday.

Officials of the Public Service Commission’s Woodford Street office, Port-of-Spain were unable to immediately answer on Mark’s claims. Communication officials said the matter would be sent to a senior officer for a response.

PSC chairman Maureen Manchouk, contacted by T&T Guardian said: “The position was advertised. We had a process and the person who was appointed (at EBC) was the person who topped the list.”

She said she didn’t know if that person was a contract officer or not. Nor did Manchouck have any idea if the person was related to the Public Administration Minister. Cuffie is on leave following a recent stroke.

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