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PPP Commissioner responds to GECOM Chairman’s press briefing

first_imgDear Editor,At a press conference held on Friday, October 5, 2018, Guyana Elections Commission Chairman, Justice (Ret’d) James Patterson, seems to have adopted the tactic of making unsubstantiated charges about “racial conflict” and efforts to stymie the holding of Local Government Elections (LGE) at the level of the Commission itself and external to it.It is indeed regrettable that the Elections Commission Chairman would go public to try to deflect and obfuscate the justifiable criticisms of GECOM. Article 162 of the Constitution mandates GECOM to always act fairly and impartially. It would appear that the GECOM Chairman is adopting the language of the APNU, which frequently resorts to charges of race when valid issues which warrant serious reflection, deliberation and action are raised at the national level. This behaviour readily results in the polarisation of the Guyanese people on the basis of ethnicity.Further, it is even more astonishing that on October 5, 2018, the very anniversary of the acclaimed ‘Restoration of Democracy’ in 1992, and bearing in mind the generally shameful experiences of prior elections in Guyana, that anyone would characterise efforts to rectify illegalities as warranting a challenge by a member of the legal profession against ‘the misuse of the legal system’!I would like to clear up some of the real mischief embedded in the wild assertions of the GECOM Chairman.On the assertion that he makes of racially motivated political bickering, I want to remind the public that I raised an issue of lack of diversity in the establishment and hiring practices at GECOM, wherein I identified that up to 90 percent of the top management at GECOM is dominated by one group, and that it was wrong in principle for any group to have such dominance in what is a critical institution, given the diverse nature of our society. Because there was strong feeling about this matter, it was felt necessary to bring it to the attention of the Ethnic Relations Commission. This matter is under that Commission’s diligent review, and that commission has so far responded as befits its mandate. I might point out that the stakeholder group to which I belong at the Commission is the most diverse in the representation of gender, age range and ethnicity. And I am almost certain that the Commissioners on all sides would be surprised at the charge of racially motivated bickering, given the decided effort of all parties to have a diversified electoral appeal.On the assertion of “designs and machinations” to stymie the holding of the LGE, one should not have to inform the Chairman that Local Government Elections are elections by themselves in separate Local Authority Areas, constituencies and municipalities. If, for reasons of death, ties and court decisions, elections have to be held outside of the general appointed date, the laws make provision for that to occur.For the Chairman, a former judge, to speak about “the misuse of the court system” and it becoming “a tool of disruption” is deeply troubling.The Chairman has to recall that the basic mandate of GECOM is to provide for free, fair, transparent, nationally and internationally verifiable democratic elections in Guyana. No resort to the courts of the current matters relating to the required legal process for the dismantling of LAAs and the declaration of new ones by the Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan in the face of “charges of bias” and ‘gerrymandering’ could be termed as “disruptive and a misuse of the legal system”. GECOM itself, as the steward and custodian of the elections process, should be happy to have these issues fairly and expertly reviewed and pronounced on by the Court system. How could efforts to remove fraudulent names – either of candidates or from lists of nominators — come under such attack? Is the Chairman himself unaware that an Elections Petition relating to the 2015 National and Regional Elections has been seemingly languishing in the courts, and is it not in his best interest, as Chairman of the Elections Commission, to have it heard quickly even after three years?I have the unfortunate duty to remind the Chairman that he was the prime actor, after an invitation to the United Nations was made and accepted, to have international technical expertise hired at UN cost to assist GECOM with certain critical issues relating to advice on and the upgrade of elections technology and capabilities. The refusal to meet the UN in Guyana as scheduled at the instance of the Chairman as was his studied refusal – in excess of three weeks – to deign a reply to the UN in explanation was a grave error and embarrassment to GECOM.Beyond truly taking up his constitutional responsibilities, and eschewing badly timed histrionics, Mr. Patterson needs to offer genuine explanations for certain recent questionable hirings in which he has had a direct role, and for the preferential treatment of a newly hired staffer.Also, he should not appear to be supporting the serious indiscretions of GECOM staff, particularly in not offering acceptable explanations for the disappearance of CEO Lowenfield for some 10 hours at a critical time on Wednesday, September 26 last, which allowed for the non-removal, and therefore acceptance, of fraudulent names on lists by GECOM Returning Officers in a number of areas.I can list at least ten (10) important and critical matters for which the continuing silence, dilatory excuses and delayed considerations by the Chairman is having serious negative impacts on the improvement in the management and efficiency of the GECOM in achieving the ultimate goal of having exclusively free and fair elections in Guyana.Lastly, I am unaware, both at GECOM and with the obvious energy and interest being exerted by stakeholders and electors, that any political organisation is intent on stymieing the holding of the LGE. Given his unique placement at GECOM and the evidence of LGE activity thus far, this conclusion of the Chairman of GECOM is indeed remarkable.I can only leave it to the media and the public at this time to consider this and to arrive at their own deliberate conclusions.Robeson BennGECOM Commissionerlast_img read more

No link between security guard, teacher’s deaths – Police

first_imgKescia Branche’s murderQuestions remain unanswered regarding the death of the security guard who had reportedly witnessed the dumping of Kescia Branche’s body, but the acting Crime Chief, Paul Williams, told media operatives on Thursday that Police are not yet suspicious of foul play in the incident which led to his demise.This is as the Guyana Police Force is yet to zoom in on possible suspects in the hit-and-run incident which later resulted in the death of Norbert Lamazon.Suspicions are on the rise that the security guard might have been targeted for his statement in relation to the Kescia Branche murder investigation.Reports are that the security guard, who allegedly had seen a car dumping the battered body of the Richard Ishmael Secondary School teacher on Cemetery Road, was struck down by a truck on Princes Street last week, and days later succumbed to his injuries.In responding to expressed suspicions, Acting Crime Chief Paul Williams indicated that investigations have not yet pointed towards the direction of a homicide. Williams explained, “Yes, I learn that Mr Lamazon is one of the witnesses, a person who have given a statement; but, so far, there isn’t anything that really and truly will lead us to the direction in saying that (his death) is anything other than a motor vehicle accident.”Investigations continue into Lamazon’s death under the jurisdiction of the Traffic Department, but Williams has highlighted that the Police have not yet discounted the possibility of a link between the hit-and-run and the brutal murder of the schoolteacher; but as it stands at the moment, such a connection has not been established.“So far, (Lamazon’s death) is being treated as an accident. But if there is (anyone with) any evidence to come forward to say it is not a motor vehicle accident, and that it is foul play or something in the direction where we can see it as a serious crime, well, then we will go down that path,” he underlined.The acting Crime Chief pointed out that the security guard was among the first persons to come forward with a statement in regard to Kescia Branche’s murder probes. However, he did not reveal the content of Lamazon’s statement, noting that it may later be treated as evidence.Meanwhile, a post mortem examination conducted on the body of Norbert Lamazon on Wednesday revealed that his death was due to brain haemorrhage topped with blunt trauma. Those injuries are all consistent with a hit-and-run accident.last_img read more

Motorcyclist killed after colliding with car

first_imgA motorcyclist was, in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, killed after he collided with a motorcar along the Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara (WCD) Public Road. Dead is Nial Persaud of Lot 635 Parfaite Harmonie, West Bank Demerara.Dead: Nial PersaudBased on reports received, Persaud was proceeding along the Vreed-en-Hoop Public Road when he collided with the rear of motorcar HC 7218 which was attempting to make a turn.The car that was involved in the accidentThe driver of the car reported that he indicated that he was about to make the turn, however, whilst in the process of doing so, he felt the impact.The motorbike Persaud was riding at the time of his demiseUpon inspections, Persaud was found lying on the roadway with injuries to his head and body. He was quickly picked up and rushed to the West Demerara Regional Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.The car driver, identified as a resident of Windsor Forest, WCD, was taken into Police custody where a breathalyser test was conducted but showed no trace of alcohol.He is said to be assisting with investigations.last_img read more

Pay it forward this Friday

first_imgA local organization is encouraging everyone to pay it forward on Friday.On June 10, the Fort St. John Association for Community Living is holding its third annual Pay It Forward Day.The idea behind Pay It Forward Day is to encourage individuals to perform random or planned acts of kindness within the community. Such acts can be as simple as opening a door for someone, volunteering or buying a coffee for someone.- Advertisement -The intention of the Fort St. John Association for Community Living is to encourage as many people to participate, share stories and inspire others to extend kindness not just once, but every day of the year.For more information on Pay It Forward Day, or to share ideas and stories, please contact Cory Goodwin at 250-787-9262 ext.226 or cory.goodwin@fsjacl.com .last_img read more

Spain’s taxman OKs Ronaldo’s Sh 2.2bn tax settlement

first_img0Shares0000Cristiano Ronaldo can settle his Spanish tax woes out of court © AFP / Isabella BonottoMADRID, Spain, Jul 27 – Spanish tax authorities have given their ok for football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to pay close to Sh2.2 billion ($22 million) to settle a tax fraud claim, prosecutors said Friday.Prosecutors in Madrid said the deal with tax authorities and Ronaldo’s advisors also includes a two-year jail sentence which he won’t serve. Sentences of up to two years are generally not implemented in Spain for first-time offenders in non-violent crimes. The 33-year-old former Real Madrid striker, who has moved to Juventus, appeared in court last July near Madrid to answer four counts of tax evasion.Procecutors allege the five-time Ballon d’Or winner hid income generated in Spain from his image rights from tax authorities.He is alleged to have used companies in low-tax foreign jurisdictions — notably the British Virgin Islands and Ireland — to avoid having to pay the tax otherwise due.In 2014, Spanish authorities say he was late in declaring that year just 11.5 millions euros of revenue earned in Spain for the period 2011-2014 when his earnings in his country of residence totalled 43 million euros.The Spanish taxman also found he did not declare 28.4 million euros in image rights agreed for 2015-2020, leaving 14.7 million owing.His legal team had blamed the affair on a simple different interpretation of which revenue he was obliged to declare in Spain.Had the case gone further, without the player offering a full settlement, he could have faced a fine of a reported 28 millions euros as well as a three-and-a-half-year jail term, according to the Spanish tax office union Gestha.Ronaldo’s big La Liga rival, Barcelona’s Argentinian star Lionel Messi, paid a two-million-euro fine in 2016 in his own tax wrangle and received a 21-month jail term.The prison sentence was later reduced to a further fine of 252,000 euros equivalent to 400 euros per day of the original term.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Exclusive – ‘Balotelli deal will blow up in Rodgers’ face’, claims ex-England striker

first_imgMario Balotelli’s move to Liverpool will blow up in Brendan Rodgers’ face.That’s the view of Rodney Marsh, who insists the wayward Italian will cause more problems than he solves for the Anfield boss.Rodgers claims the £16million transfer is a gamble worth taking, but former Manchester City and England striker Marsh has a differing opinion.“The Balotelli thing will blow up in his [Rodgers’] face,” he told the Sports Bar. “It could derail Liverpool’s season.“As soon as he gets the hump, what will Rodgers do? Will he pander to him? He’s a terrific footballer and has a good goal record. But how long will it be before he upsets other players, Sturridge for instance?”And Marsh doesn’t believe Balotelli’s arrival will be enough to keep Liverpool in the hunt for the Premier League title.“Liverpool are nowhere  near as good as they were last year,” he added. “If they get fourth [this season] they’ll have swum the channel.”last_img read more

People’s Pundit Semi-Finals – Meet the winner of heat one

first_img1 Jack Goodall One down, four to go…The first Carlsberg People’s Pundit semi-final, held in Islington on Friday, March 13, was a huge success, with the standard of the six contestants extremely high.The dynamic half dozen were put through their paces by a number of high-profile judges, including Jeff Stelling, Ray Parlour and Ian Danter.Challenges included having to act as expert summariser to match commentator Danter, and having to talk live on stage for 30 seconds on a football topic thrown to them at random. Not easy, that!All six performed well but, in the end, the judges chose Ipswich fan Jake Goodall as the winner of the London heat. Jake’s friend suggested he enter the competition and he got his entry in with just 20 minutes to spare.He will join the four other winners of the regional heats at Bootcamp with Mark Saggers in London on Monday, April 20.And the final five will then battle it out in a series of challenges until a final winner is decided on Monday, May 18.Click here for details and venues of the remaining four People’s Pundit semi-finalslast_img read more

Schools across nation report staph infection outbreaks

first_imgVirginia public schools spokesman Charles Pyle said the Education Department’s health specialist has received about eight calls about the problem since school started. Last year, he received only two calls during the entire fall semester. “We’re not viewing this as something to be overly alarmed about,” Pyle said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.On Friday, the high school in Galax, Va., postponed a football game because of an infection on its football team. School officials said they could not clean the equipment in time for the kickoff. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta does not track staph infections but confirmed that the cases seem to be more widespread than in the past. “Most of these are mild infections,” agency spokeswoman Nicole Coffin said. “They can be as simple as a pimple or a boil, or as serious as a blood infection.” The drug-resistant strain, called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain, or MRSA, can be especially stubborn. It resists treatment with penicillin and related antibiotics but can be treated with other drugs. The potentially fatal germ typically thrives in health care settings where people have open wounds. But in recent years, outbreaks have also occurred in schools. RICHMOND, Va. – Schools across the country are reporting outbreaks of staph infections, particularly among athletes, and the germs include an antibiotic-resistant strain that is sometimes associated with serious skin problems and blood disorders. The infections have forced districts to call off classes, cancel sporting events and disinfect entire buildings. Several students have been hospitalized. Many of the infections are being spread in gyms and locker rooms, where athletes – perhaps suffering from cuts or abrasions – share sports equipment. In Virginia, a Newport News high school closed its weight room Thursday to be disinfected after at least four students were infected – one with the drug-resistant strain. The drug-resistant patient, a football player, was hospitalized for three days. last_img read more

Euro 2016 skills challenge – in the middle of a thunderstorm!

first_imgDid you hear the one about the Welshman and the two Irishmen in the pouring rain…?That was the (not at all funny) fate that befell our lucky trio of Danny Gabbidon (Wales), Keith Gillespie (Northern Ireland) and Matt Holland (Republic of Ireland) when they took part in our Euro 2016 skills challenge.There were three tests in total – crossbar challenge, penalty shoot-out and doing keepy-uppys while going from one end of the pitch to the other – but what we hadn’t taken into account was the weather.It was absolutely brutal! And if you don’t believe, just take a look at the video…last_img read more

GOLF NEWS: DUNFANAGHY CLUB NOTES

first_imgTHE EAGLE HAS LANDED.It took a while for the first Birdie to arrive at our Saturday morning Juvenile competitions, but the first Eagle quickly followed. The honour goes to Seamus Mc Ginley who drove the downwind 18th to land some 5 feet from the hole and he duly rolled in the putt to the applause of the juvenile members who gathered around the green to witness this great event. Seamus duly went on to take first place with Patrick Page finishing second.The previous week’s winner was Edward O Reilly who put in a superb putting display to sneak home in first place on a very cold morning. Competitions continue every Saturday morning weather permitting, a text service will notify parents on Friday night if the forecast is bad and the competition is cancelled, no text – competition on.31/10/2012Wed Open StablefordDanny Conaghan              40 pts. bot Michael Murray                40 pts. botColin Higgs          26 pts.Paddy Hegarty  40 pts.Css         37 pts.02/11/2012 14 Hole StablefordCharlie Roarty    28 pts.n.c.03/11/2012 4 BBB StrokeJames Sweeney/Roger Green   57Don Sheridan/Kevin James          62n.c.04/11/2012Christmas Mini Hamper Stableford GOYJames Connors 43 pts. botWillie Wilkin        43 pts.Brian Dolan         32 pts.Paddy Hegarty  41 pts.Fergus Mullen   21 pts.Derek Porter      22 pts. botCss         38 pts.07/11/2012Wednesday Open StablefordDavid Moore      36 pts. BOTCyril Robinson   36 pts.Donal Boyle        33 pts.Charles Roarty Jur            34 pts. BOTHugh Ferry          19 pts. BOTAidan Fox            17 pts. BOTCss         34 pts.10/11/20124 BBB StrokeJames Grant/Martin Brogan        61 botDessie Shiels/Eugene Gallagher                61Freddie Stewart/Tony Griffin     62n.c.11/11/2012Sunday Club StablefordDerek Porter      40 pts.Dan Sweeney    38 pts. botDaniel McColgan              32 pts.Patrick Hunter   38 pts.Paul Burton        21 pts.Gerard Harkin    23 ptsCss         37 pts.GOLF NEWS: DUNFANAGHY CLUB NOTES was last modified: November 13th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:DUNFANAGHY GOLF CLUB NOTESlast_img read more