The fact of the matter

first_imgDear Editor,Justice (Ret’d) James Patterson has made my point emphatically about the perverse ethnic and political domination, lack of diversity, and racial exclusion in the make-up and hiring practices of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), in his considered but irrational decision to reject the top ranked candidate, Vishnu Persaud, for the post of Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) of GECOM.Persaud emerged as the highest-ranked candidate out of an interviewing and review process which imposed surprising double jeopardies on him. The facts are as follows: (1): Persaud served in the position for over three years (2): Persaud was in employment at a senior level for several more years(3): Persaud has had ‘very good’ performance appraisals from CEO Lowenfield (4): Persaud acted in the position of CEO – vice Lowenfield – on a number of occasions (5): Persaud has exceeded the requirements for the job as advertised, greatly.In fact, the position should not have been advertised in the first place, but the gentleman should have been rightfully reinstated to his post — a post which fell vacant only due to the absence of a full commission.The hung vote across the table, however, meant that Chairman Patterson had to cast his vote. A three-week delay for decision yielded his ‘considered’ position that Roxanne Myers, the second ranked candidate, was his choice for the DCEO position.I repeat here my assertions that the decision is gross, irrational, lacking in fairness, and is an injustice not only to the individual it negatively impacted, but also to the entire Guyanese society.The arguments of meritocracy which were proferred by some in defence of the ethnic dominance and skewed culture at GECOM have been thrown out of the window by the Chairman’s action. Here, we have had a candidate who clearly merited due, fit and proper consideration cast out in spite of having been ranked the highest of all those interviewed.Even worse, the decision validates persistent claims that a group of Guyanese representing perhaps 50 plus percent of the population has no merit in the considerations for fair employment also at GECOM.The decision has, I have heard, left a bitter taste also in the mouths of Afro-Guyanese employees at GECOM, who felt that Persaud was unfairly treated.And here I repeat my assertion that GECOM at the top management level is dominated by up to 90 percent Afro-Guyanese. If the same were true for similar dominance by Indo- or any other group of Guyanese it would still be wrong and unhealthy, and must attract similar condemnation and efforts for redress.We have to deal with uncomfortable truths fairly.I have referenced the Lawrence Inquiry, which deemed the British Police as being ‘institutionally racist’ as a reference point for similar situations and behaviour elsewhere.I insist that critical institutions of the state, such as GECOM, become reflexively racist sometimes without knowing it, but also become victims and pawns for the undertaking of sinister actions by some, to the detriment of fairness, justice, public good and sustainability of the nation. And this goes for whichever group dominates in any similar institution of the state.The continuance of the denial of fair employment on the basis of race, ethnicity, and association in critical institutions of the state, such as GECOM, is a manifest denial of the civil rights of citizens, and is injurious to a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and yet fragile nation.Some of us therefore should not beat the drums in support of civil rights and justice for groups discriminated against in other countries, while we support and/or undertake discriminatory practices against groups of fellow Guyanese. Moral equivalency matters in this issue.An urgent staff audit of GECOM must be undertaken to answer questions of lack of diversity, ethnic suppression and exclusion, and political dominance at the institution. Such an audit has to take account of geographic imbalances and imbalances at various employment levels. Further, the stakeholders have to arrive at formulations to address these matters as they relate to the hiring of temporary staff and contractors for elections, when these issues become even more exacerbated.GECOM CEO Lowenfield has to have the courage to dispassionately map the agency for unusual employment anomalies, said to be also existing representing family and membership of particular churches. Explanations for any such anomalies must be offered to allay negative public perceptions and anxieties, and to allow for redress.GECOM, as a matter of urgency, has to draft, invite public comment on, and thereafter adopt, a Corporate Social Responsibility Charter (CSRC) and a Governance Charter which speak to its ethos and commitment in respect to its constitutional mandate to prepare for, and conduct free, fair and transparent elections, for Guyana, which are acceptable. These should come out of a risk assessment process using acceptable matrices, and they should be regularly monitored and reported on for compliance.In the meantime, much needed ethnic sensitivity training is required to deal with complaints of disdainful treatment at all levels of engagement with the Commission.The ongoing deliberate, open, and also surreptitious stacking of GECOM senior staff with persons of a particular group and of a particular political preference has been just confirmed via Facebook and Twitter posts – now being rapidly taken down. This event also supports charges that GECOM has been ‘captured’ by one political entity.There is now the feeling that there is complete destruction of any general perception of fairness, integrity and transparency at GECOM.Commissioner Alexander should really be making better and positive use of his time and intellect, rather than rushing in to the support the indefensible, both for the specific case and for the general issue here. He seems to have appointed himself both as the wordsmith and the mouthpiece for GECOM’s Chairman.There are no other options left, given the preferred position at the highest levels at GECOM, but to refer the current matter to the Ethnic Relations Commission, and to bring the scrutiny of relevant international bodies on GECOM. He has become ‘the source’ of misrepresentations and half-truths appearing in sections of the media. It is indeed regrettable that he is the main person advancing the case of the ‘deplorables,’ both at GECOM and in the mediaAnd if GECOM, as has been stated, has ‘dirty laundry’, the only place it must be washed is in the full view of the Guyanese public and the international community.Respectfully,Robeson BennCommissionerGuyana ElectionsCommissionlast_img read more

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Ministry of Justice Faces Court Contempt Charge

first_imgThe Civil Law Court on Friday, June 20, threatened to bring a contempt charge against senior staff members of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), if they insist on not to turn over three vehicles to the court by today, Monday, June 23.The court decided to engage the prosecuting arm of government, the MOJ, after the Ministry of Finance, which had originally confiscated said vehicles, disregarded its order to turn the vehicles over.The vehicles in question, VIN#5TFUYSF11AX146505, VIN#KN8NU73C67U01510 and VIN#2FNDK3JCABA20110, are owned by George Slangar, a used car importer.An order from the Civil Law Court instructing the Ministry of Finance (MOF) to turn over three vehicles in its possession was ignored by the Ministry.The Court’s order, dated June 11, a copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, instructed the Finance Ministry to deliver the vehicles to the Sheriff of the Court in keeping with the law, and to appear on Monday, June 16, at 10 a.m.Unfortunately, the Ministry did not appear before Judge Emery Paye last Monday, neither did it turn over the vehicles.The order partly read, “Respondents or defendants, MOF are hereby ordered to deliver the chattels, the subject of these proceedings to the sheriff of the Honorable Court as in keeping with the law.”It further reads,” The Sheriffs are commanded to summon the defendants to appear before the Court on the June 16, 2014, at the precise hour of 10 a.m. to answer to the complaint of Mr. George Slangar, a used car importer.”In their complaint to the Court, the lawyer representing Slangar alleged that they are owners of three vehicles (VIN#5TFUYSF11AX146505, VIN#KN8NU73C67U01510 and VIN#2FNDK3JCABA20110) imported from the United States of America (USA).They alleged that they have paid all government taxes as required by law, and have the right to take delivery of said vehicles from the Free Port of Monrovia.Unfortunately, the vehicles are presently at the Port under the custody of the Liberia National Police (LNP) in keeping with the Ministry of Finance’s communication dated January 17, 2014.Judge Paye has therefore decided to engage the MOJ, which is expected to in turn bring pressure to bear upon the Finance Ministry to release said vehicles.Instructions to the senior government officials, under the signature of Judge Emery Paye, ordered that the Acting Minister along with senior staff members, including the Director of the Liberia National Police (LNP), be made to appear before the Court today, at about 9:30 a.m.They are further instructed to show cause, if any, why they should not be held with contempt and punished for their failure to turn over the vehicles as ordered by the court.Judge Paye also ordered the MOJ to bring along the said vehicles.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Yesterday’s Lone Star: In Search of Change

first_imgIt is an incredible truth that Liberian football is in search of a change, and it must be a huge change at that.For starters, with the ravages of Ebola Virus Disease, it has not become necessary for a re-start of the local league that would subsequently benefit the various national teams. The current effort is the assembling together of former football stars that played well abroad and have now retired to lead effective campaign against the virus’ spread and its stigma.At least some of the players who were recently appointed as coaches to handle the various national teams are part, as the accompanying picture, taken by ace cameraman Mozart Dennis, shows being particular of this selected side of the national team.Since membership of national teams is determined on current form, players are brought in together whenever they are requested their coaches from their various clubs abroad to honor their national assignment.As you can see in the above photo, James Debbah and George Weah are not on this team. The line-up of the team standing, from left to right: Goalkeeper Pewou Bestman, James ‘Bodyworks’ Karrow, Alex Theo, Friday Roberts, Barbie Keith Jinlack, Arthur Farh and Solomon Joe.Players kneeling from left are: Thomas Kojo, Ben Saydee (Roberto), Kervin Sebwe, Mass Saar, James Weah and Waka Herron.Out of the number, Thomas Kojo and Kervin Sebwe have reached a level that they can be counted on as leaders or managers to handle and develop players to better Liberian football.This photo is to remind Kojo and Kervin of the challenge before them, since they were once players who were once managed and developed by local coaches, including the Walter Pelham, Manneh Peters and the Wilfred ‘Kiljani’ Lardner, all of glorious memory.Perhaps wherever they may be, Pelham, Peters and Lardner should be congratulating themselves for, they never worked in vain, and so coaches Kojo and Sebwe should remind themselves of what those coaches mentioned imparted into them to be able to impart same into others.That way, and when Kojo and Sebwe are successful, it would indicate that the spirits of the three coaches still live on, and may be in them.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Street Child Provides over US$24K Grant to 238 Families

first_imgAt least 238 families received financial grants amounting to US$24K from Street Child of Liberia in the third cycle of its sustainability business scheme.The distributions, which began last Friday and continued on Saturday, were held in the auditorium of Educational Promoters, Chocolate City, Gardnersville. It ended on Sunday in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.Several hours of instruction on ‘how to manage and sustain a business,’ was held on each day of the distribution, and was conducted by Street Child Sustainability Project Coordinator, Mrs. June Rose Dangbuah. She was assisted by a team of Street Child volunteers.Coordinator Dangbuah took the recipients through a rigorous training on how to manage the grant money to achieve the objectives of the grant.The beneficiaries, mostly women, were drawn from several slum communities in and around Monrovia, including West Point, New Kru Town, Red Light, and Sinkor. Parents, guardians or care givers representing 149 children received a total of US$15,080 and 54 amputees also received US$59,000. The money was divided by family and shared based on the number of children.The amputee program is coordinated by Ms. Edwina Fully, under the Elizabeth Legacy of Hope Adult Parent (ELOHAP).Envelopes with amounts of US$100 and US$120 were presented to the families to serve as ‘seed’ money, for as Program Director Michael John Bull said in his remarks, “the giant cotton tree grew out of a small seed.”Twenty nine Ebola Orphan Care givers’ distribution amounted to US$3,000. The Buchanan distribution of US$600 benefitted 6 members of the Group of 77.In addition 54 families, representing 150 children of adult amputees received educational support, according to Coordinator Dangbuah.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Contractor refunds money for Region 6 controversial bulldozer

first_imgThe contractor who had supplied a smaller, used bulldozer to the Region Six Administration instead of a larger and brand new one has repaid in full the money received because the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) has refused to accept the bulldozer supplied.On January 4th this year, controversy broke out at the RDC when councillors began questioning the condition of this machinery that supposedly was recently purchased.In its 2017 budget proposal, the administration had proposed the purchase of a large bulldozer to shape dams in the rice cultivation area, and to render assistanceThe controversial bulldozerto cash crop farmers. The bulldozer was touted to reduce the cost of constant repairs being effected on those dams. With this in mind, $15 million had been proposed for the purchase of the bulldozer. The proposal was approved in the 2017 National Budget.However, on January 4, when controversy erupted over the specifications and condition of the bulldozer supplied, Regional Executive Officer (REO) Kim Stephens told the RDC that the bulldozer was not yet part of the region’s property, because the administration was waiting on the supplier to hand over the registration.Even then, this publication had reported being in receipt of information that the bulldozer supplied had been paid for in full although no inspection certificate had been issued.Less than one week later, the REO told reporters at a press conference at her office that the used bulldozer which was recently purchased was indeed the property of the regional administration, although only four days prior she had denied that the machinery was the property of the regional administration.The supplier was paid $8 million for mobilisation, and a further $6.7 million was paid on December 28, 2016.The REO told reporters at her press conference that the money was approved by Cabinet for a D3 bulldozer, and that the proper procurement procedure had been followed.When it met on January 4, the RDC had called for an investigation to be launched into the procurement of this bulldozer; but even before the investigation, it was discovered that what was supplied was not what had been stipulated on the contract, and the supplier was asked to deliver what he was contracted to supply. He, however, claimed he could not source such a piece of equipment for the price agreed upon. After much public criticism of the old equipment purchased, a decision was taken for the contractor to take back the bulldozer and repay the money.The REO, meanwhile, appeared before the Public Accounts Committee on the issue and admitted that the required procurement procedure was not followed in purchasing the bulldozer.While apologising for the error, the REO had said it was not deliberate, but was rather an act of oversight; and promised there would be no recurrence. (Andrew Carmichael)last_img read more

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Motorcyclist dies after crashing into plough

first_imgThe life of motorcyclist Farzul Junior Bacchus of Three Friends Village, Essequibo Coast was on Friday snuffed out on the Aberdeen Public Road, on the Essequibo Coast in Region Two, when he attempted to overtake a motor car but collided with a parked tractor plough.Dead: Farzul Junior BacchusThe 21-year-old clerk at the Makah Restaurant was reportedly heading to work driving his motor cycle and wearing a helmet when tragedy struck. His body was reportedly flung into the air and landed on the blades of the plough. As a result, his left foot was completely severed, while his body sustained several chop wounds.Rushed to the Suddie Public Hospital, he succumbed to his injuries while receiving medical attention.When Guyana Times visited the scene, an eyewitness detailed that the young man had landed in a nearby trench and was bleeding profusely when pulled therefrom. Several persons opined that had his body not been so extensively mutilated by the plough, he might have survived the accident.The motorcycle Bacchus was ridingThe now dead man was the last of five children for his parents, and had only recently got married. His sister Faeeda Bacchus recalled that he had been a very humble individual and a true believer in Islam. She also said he was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. His body is presently at the Suddie Hospital mortuary.CollaborationOnly last week, Akeem James of Golden Fleece, Essequibo Coast tragically lost his life after crashing his motorcycle into a parked lorry.At a recent Regional Democratic Council statutory meeting, Government Councillor Hardat Narine had called for collaboration between the RDC and the Police Traffic Department in having all structures and equipment encroaching the roadway removed. This, he claims, is a hindrance to motorists plying the roadway on a daily basis.last_img read more

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‘He’d certainly improve the Arsenal squad’ – Gooners discuss transfer rumour

first_img1 It appears Daley Blind could leave Man United after just two seasons.Since Jose Mourinho arrived as manager, the versatile Dutchman’s future has looked uncertain and as well as Barcelona, Arsenal have been linked with a transfer.Blind cost £16m in 2014 and played as a centre back last season and Arsene Wenger is said to be keeping an eye on things at Old Trafford.Here, talkSPORT looks at what a selection of fans have been saying online. One transfer rumour has seen Daley Blind linked with a move to Arsenal from Man United last_img read more

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Will pope’s cardinal picks have political repercussions?

first_imgCardinal Joseph Zen scares the bejesus out of the Chinese government. One of 15 cardinals elevated by Pope Benedict XVI, Hong Kong’s Zen was curtly warned by China’s foreign ministry against mixing religion and politics. “Why would you appoint someone who doesn’t support communism as a cardinal?” asked Liu Bainian, the vice-chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, the state-sanctioned faux church that doesn’t recognize the Vatican. “Is it like Poland? Didn’t the church play a big role in Poland? “If China’s bishops were all like him then it would be dangerous like Poland. Bishop Zen is widely known as an opponent of communism.” Zen, who openly champions political and religious freedom and has called on the government to “tell the truth” about the Tiananmen Square massacre, is certainly taking the criticism in stride. “I am over 70; there are things that will be hard to change,” he told reporters in Hong Kong. Millions of Chinese still loyal to the Roman Catholic Church face harassment, fines or labor camps. China, which kicked out the Vatican’s ambassador in 1951, wants a say in the appointment of bishops (interesting request for an atheist regime). The Holy See remains a diplomatic ally with Taiwan. Will Zen as cardinal play a similar role in battling communism as Pope John Paul II did? There are too few Chinese Catholics to alone topple the government, but inspiring figures who rally people to freedom transcend religion. This is not the only authoritarian regime targeted in the pope’s cardinal picks, either. Newly elevated Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, Archbishop of Caracas, Venezuela, “strengthens the voice of the church in dealing with radical left-leaning President Hugo Chavez,” Matthew Bunson, editor of The Catholic Almanac, told USA Today. Chavez has been no less than a hell-raiser in a 96 percent nominally Roman Catholic country. A man who verbally smacks down the clergy, he has called the church a “tumor” and claims Jesus was a socialist. Cardinal Ignacio Velasco, a longtime critic of Chavez, said in 2002, “Every day we turn another cheek. I have no cheeks left because every day there is a new insult.” Upon Velasco’s death in 2003, Chavez declared he was “in hell.” Nice. Recently, Cardinal Rosalio Castillo told Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper, “There is no democracy here (in Venezuela). This is a despotic government.” Chavez earlier called Castillo “a bandit” who “has the devil inside him,” according to the AP. When El Tiempo asked if he would give Chavez a blessing, Castillo said, “More than a blessing, I’d give him an exorcism.” Hold on to your pea soup, Hugo, because now there’s another cardinal in town. But will Urosa Savino inspire the same presidential ire? The National Catholic Reporter said that “Urosa Savino is seen as a more cautious alternative to the hard line of … Castillo…, who has accused Chavez of being ‘paranoid.’” Yet Castillo told El Universal last year that even though Chavez was trying to divide church hierarchy through selective favors, “he has failed in his attempt, because all of the bishops, I repeat, all of them, are united in the same thinking. In the way we express ourselves there may be diversity, but together we are all in agreement.” Chavez responded by calling Castillo an “outlaw.” The cardinal appointments in political hot spots come in the wake of Los Angeles’ Cardinal Roger Mahony raising eyebrows – some Catholics included – when he entered the House immigration bill fracas. At what point do clergy advocate breaking the law? Defying the government? Clearly, when the very freedom to worship is at stake, it’s a job for the princes of the church, even if it does mix politics and religion. Fighting communism is just that. “Whenever totalitarian ideology crushes man underfoot, all humanity is seriously threatened,” Pope Benedict said shortly after his installation. There’s little doubt that Zen poses a threat in China’s eyes. “People say I am rebellious,” the diminutive holy man with the infectious smile has said. “But if you help the underprivileged, you have to speak louder or no one can hear you.” And does China need to fear his democratic influence? As Zen said in a homily last year, “A path will appear when enough people walk on it.” Bridget Johnson writes for the Daily News. Write to her by e-mail at bridget.johnson@dailynews.com. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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PIC SPECIAL – STUNNING IMAGES OF A BEAUTIFUL SUN-DRENCHED GLENVEAGH NATIONAL PARK

first_imgPICTURE SPECIAL: The selection of images above capture the stunning beauty of a sun-drenched Glenveagh National Park.The photos were sent into us by Paddy McGlynn is who taking advantage of the glorious weather and utilizing his camera to good effect.The beautiful pictures were taken by Paddy this morning as Donegal gets set to emnark on another lovely day of sunshine. The sunshine is expected to continue right through to the weekend, so make the most of it while you can.Send us in your snaps of Donegal basking in the sun wherever you are in County to info@donegaldaily.comPIC SPECIAL – STUNNING IMAGES OF A BEAUTIFUL SUN-DRENCHED GLENVEAGH NATIONAL PARK was last modified: April 8th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare 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:Featuresglenveagh national parknewspic specialSun-drenchedlast_img read more

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Man spat at Garda and said he hoped she died like her tragic colleague

first_imgA man spat in the face of a Garda after telling her he hoped she was killed in the line of duty like her tragic colleague.Mark Fair appeared before Letterkenny District Court on alleged motoring offences. Garda Michelle Kelly told the court that Fair was stopped by Gardai at 9.46pm on May 23rd last at Justice Walsh Road.When stopped, Fair, aged 26, allegedly launched a tirade of abuse against the Garda.It was alleged he said “I hope the same thing happens to you that happened to Garda Robbie McCallion.”He then spat at Garda Kelly.The late Garda Robbie McCallion was killed when he went to stop two men stealing a car at Tara Court, Letterkenny, Co Donegal, on March 26th, 2009.Garda McCallion, from Mayo, was struck by the car and died from his injuries a few days later on April 7th.His death sent shockwaves throughout the Garda community and a special plaque to the fallen officer was erected at Letterkenny Garda station.Fair, of Balinahone, Fahan, was arrested and taken to Letterkenny Garda station.He was interviewed and a number of charges put to him by Garda Michelle Kelly.He replied by launching into a number of claims that he had sex with a female Garda and that the incident had been caught on camera.Fair then claimed that his arrest was simply out of revenge.Judge Paul Kelly said “The first comment (re the late Garda McCallion) was utterly despicable and the others were not much better.”Solicitor Frank Dorrian asked for disclosure in the case and requested an adjournment which Judge Kelly granted until September 24th next.Man spat at Garda and said he hoped she died like her tragic colleague was last modified: June 5th, 2018 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:courtdonegalFahanGardaMark FairRobbie McCallionlast_img read more

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