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GECOM must not interfere with the NRR

first_imgDear Editor,It is necessary and timely for all stakeholders in these critical and overdue General and Regional Elections to establish the measures of adeptness that will ensure the application of processes consistent with the applicable legislative framework. Certainly, non-compliance in this respect leads to default variances from the legitimate expectations by competing parties and creates partisan impacts that will likely favour one group against other competitors. Already, there have been myriad challenges to the applied processes including the tinkering with the NRR and RLE after publication without following the mandatory statutory processes.The National Registration Act Cap 19.08 establishes the divisional basis for continuous registration and stipulates the conditions and procedures the Commissioner and specific deputies must follow during any period of Registration. Specifically, Section 15 of this Act addresses the process including the right of appeal following Claims and Objections to which the Commissioner of Registration’s decision is final; before any name is added or subtracted from the National Register of Registrants Database. Certainly, there is no evidence that the Chief Elections Officer at GECOM is following these mandated obligations.Foremost, the halting of the Patterson/Lowenfield backdated infused House-to-House Registration following the CCJ’s ruling on the carried No-Confidence Motion (NCM). Therefore, GECOM’s decision to add unverified names from the truncated House-to-House Registration to the NRR given the existence and continuance of the legally binding Claims and Objections is clearly wrong and highly objectionable. It creates a recipe for serious confusion and lawlessness and the GECOM Chairperson must remember her ruling went against using of ‘voters identification card’, although, the political parties had agreed to that process.Clearly, the approximately six thousand (6000) unverified names cannot be added to the Revised List of Electors. Further, it is unacceptable for the Guyanese voting population to carry the burden of the uncertainty of names that GECOM staff and APNU scrutineers registered, which, within days cannot find the persons who registered them. It is of note that the Secretariat under Keith Lowenfield had utilised surreptitious approaches to exclude the scrutineers from the main Opposition or any other party from the process.To read in the press that the Government Commissioners walked out of the statutory meeting before Nomination Day is a clear signal of what is to come. The PNC as the core of APNU/AFC coalition is clearly exhibiting a determined manoeuvre based on procrastinating and delaying the process in order to stay illegally longer in office. The obvious approach is the use of an infiltrative approach at GECOM to realise a contaminated list which they hope and expect will be rejected, towards a recurrence of the 1990 position when elections were delayed by two years to clean up the mess.For quite some time, stakeholders have observed that Keith Lowenfield has continued to usurp the authority of the GECOM Commission. There have been numerous complaints from Commission members that he has implemented the decision of his own accord, without following or bringing the appropriate matters before the Commission for approval and directions. There are no objections by the proven highly partisan PNC/APNU Commissioners when these matters are discussed. Opposition Commissioners raise objections, and it indicates the existence of clandestine behind the scene manoeuvres which undermines the required level of transparency for this key organisation.The foregoing highlights the highly conflicting issue of hiring of staff, which functionally, fall under the Commission’s responsibility. Of real concern is the recent publication of hired Regional Returning Officers (ROs) who are supposed to be temporary appointments, while these persons are actually permanent members employed at the GECOM Secretariat without the blessings of the Commission members. Regarding the hiring of staff, Act No 15 of 2000 Election Laws (Amendment) Act 2000 states:“17. (1) There shall be a Permanent Secretariat to the Commission to ensure institutional memory and capacity and the Commission shall be responsible for the efficient functioning of the Secretariat.(2) The Commission shall be responsible for appointing on such terms and conditions as may be determined by the Commission such permanent and temporary staff to the offices of the Commission as are considered by the necessary for the discharge of its function under the Constitution and any written law.18. The Chief Election Officer and the Commissioner of Registration shall, notwithstanding anything in any written law, be subject to the direction and control of the Commission. In essence, let us be clear, all hiring and appointment of staff, “permanent and temporary” must be done by the Commission.”Taxpayers and Guyanese at large cannot accept the continuously partisan and incompetent staff the GECOM Secretariat hired to do the House-to-House Registration, and which, within days, cannot find the registrants. I had forewarned that the shenanigans of those behind the farcical House-to-House, is strongly linked to milking cow syndrome of thieving and spending money. Further, it must be noted that the ‘unverified’ House-to-House Registration was done on the wrong statutory forms.Observers have noted that persons added to the RLE presumably from the truncated House-to-House, have been assigned an identification card number. These have included the thousands of unverified persons that are clearly challengeable. It is, therefore, necessary that we ask when will the GECOM Secretariat issue the National ID cards to the people who applied and are waiting for months for their ID cards.As in the previous General and Regional Elections, another area of conflict has been the absence and neglect of the GECOM CEO to provide the reconciled position of the electronic result to the Commission for approval before announcing and publishing the results of votes counted in the ascertainment of the elections results. I advocated for the definitive and procedural legal compliance in this respect. Section 96 (1) and (2) of Act No 15 of 2000 Election Laws (Amendment) Act 2000 states respectively:“(1) The Chief Elections Officer shall, after calculating the total number of valid votes of electors which have been cast for each list of candidates, on the basis of the votes counted and the information furnished by Returning Officers under Section 84 (11), ascertain the results of the elections in accordance with Sections 97 and 98.(2) The Chief Elections Officer shall prepare a report manually and in electronic form in terms of Section 99 for the benefit of the Commission, which shall be the basis for the Commission to declare and publish the election results under Section 99.”Hence, it is imperative that all systems must be in place for efficient functioning in the Information Technology Department. In this sense, the UNDP offer previously rejected by previous Chairman James Patterson must be accepted immediately. There must be no resistance to the UNDP IT presence at GECOM.Things are not looking good with the GECOM staff, the proven highly politically tarnished persons of the like to Melanie Marshall is bad news. The public demands that persons, which fall in this category, are not tolerated around GECOM!There are questions about why the Returning Officer for Region Five’s appointment was delayed and only named after Granger’s announcement about having to ‘win’ in this region. There is something sinister about this because Region Five is a suspect area for housing many Haitians, while the PNC representative had falsely tried to remove thousands of legitimate Guyanese from the voters’ list. What, therefore, is GECOM’s motive?Sincerely,Neil Kumarlast_img read more

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Businessman among 3 in custody for murder of pandit, son

first_imgAs investigations intensify into the murder of sexagenarian Pandit Deonarine Liliah and his 29-year-old son Gopaul Liliah, which occurred at their residence in Craig Street, Campbellville Georgetown, a close business associate of the elderly deceased has been taken into custody on Thursday.Apart from this businessman, two other men have been taken into custody for this gruesome double murder. On Friday, Police approached the High Court with an application to further detain the men as they gather evidence. A source close to the investigations has told Guyana Times that the businessman in custody has an issue pending in court with the late pandit’s son who resides overseas.The source also related that, based on Police investigations, the businessman was reportedly in the driving seat in the court battle, and there was no need to murder the pandit and his son. This new revelation has elicited several unanswered questions.In addition, the source related that the murder did not stem from an $8 million loan, as was reported in other sections of the media.“A” Division Commander Leslie James, when contacted, explained thus, “We’re wrapping up investigations. The three men in custody are cooperating.”On Tuesday last, detectives found that the back door of the Liliahs’ home had been left ajar. The younger Liliah’s body was reportedly found lying face down on the floor in a pool of blood, with a red jersey wrapped around his head. There were three stab wounds to his back, one each to the left and right side abdomen, and two to the chest.The elder Liliah was found lying on his back in the living room. He was clad in a pair of white long pants and multiple coloured top, and his face was covered with a multi-coloured jersey.He had sustained four stab wounds to his abdomen, four to his left side abdomen, one to the lower back, and one to the right hip.Sources close to the investigations told Guyana Times there was no sign of forced entry into the home. However, CCTV footage collected from nearby buildings revealed that an unidentified man was seen scaling the fence, and he entered the premises through a front door. After some time, he was seen leaving the house with two bulky bags and a bucket. The house had been ransacked.Additional information revealed that the pandit, who had also been an astrologer, had resided with his son in the upper flat of thea two-storey wooden and concrete building, while the lower storey is occupied by a 40-year-old home aid worker.The two men were last seen by the tenant at about 06:00h on Saturday last, and it has been confirmed that they and the tenant had had conversation.The pandit had attended a Ramayan Yagna at Lusignan Mandir, ECD on Saturday evening and would have left around 21:00h to return home.The tenant said that on Saturday, at about 21:00h, she was using her landlord’s Wi-Fi when it suddenly went off, and it was around the same time she had heard footsteps coming from the upper flat of the house.After three days had elapsed and there had been no sign of the men, the woman became suspicious and went to the Kitty Police Station, where she made a report. She was accompanied to the premises by three Police ranks. It was then that the gruesome discovery was made. The bodies of two men were already in a state of decomposition.The two men were cremated on Thursday at the Good Hope Crematorium.last_img read more

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first_imgArdara Sunset by Brian CampbellIT’S a kind of heatwave – and we’re all loving it.And Donegal’s summer weather is giving us some spectacular sunsets and sunrises.This one was captured in Ardara by Brian Campbell. You can send your pictures to [email protected] in Glenties from Eamonn McNeilisSundown in Ballybofey from Damien Bradley     WOW! UNDER A BLOOD RED DONEGAL SKY was last modified: June 7th, 2013 by BrendaShare 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:WOW! UNDER A BLOOD RED DONEGAL SKYlast_img read more

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