Tag: 上海楼凤GC

  • GECOM never fails to amaze

    first_imgDear Editor,Another Tuesday, another statutory meeting of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). It never fails to amaze me during these weekly discourses, how determined efforts are made to cuffuffle those of us who try to unravel yet more brazen efforts at obfuscation and material non-disclosure of decisions made and acted upon “between meetings”.Just before the meeting, information was shared via email about the voter education activities promised to us last week. The information included a matrix of PR and other multi-media outfits which apparently sent quotations for several activities, including infomercials and flyers. Questions were asked and it turns out that none of this procurement of services was publicly advertised, no information was available as to how the entities were chosen to send in quotes, and how the various activities were even disaggregated!For instance, activities such as the voting process; stamping ballot paper; voting without an ID card; eligibility to vote; voter rights and responsibility; voting by proxy and election offences are all listed separately for 60-second infomercials costing between $65,000 and $160,000. The basis for this listing remained unexplained and the impression I got was that the whole thing is contract splitting to benefit select outfits. As usual, the excuse for no public tender or anything resembling a transparent process was sacrificed at the altar of ‘not enough time and statutory deadlines to meet in a great hurry’.Then, the would-be pacifist, Commissioner Alexander, laments the absence of a procurement manual which would disallow such underhand practices, yet that manual remains elusive.At this meeting, the Chairman, to the consternation of the meeting, announced that he had written Ashton Chase, SC, to provide ‘further and better particulars’ and that it was his own deliberate decision that payment to Chase be deferred even though the matter which was brought against GECOM since 2011 when Chase was retained, with no advance or deposit on fees. The matter was first decided in the High Court in GECOM’s favour, then on appeal was again, in August, 2018, decided in GECOM’s favour, and no legal fees had been demanded or paid throughout the whole process from 2011 to 2018! Compare the invoice sent by Chase for the princely sum of $950,000 – $450,000 for the High Court and $500,000 for the Court of Appeal representation; to invoices sent by Roysdale Forde, Attorney for the CEO, in the sums of $6 million, plus $960,000 VAT for representation in the matter of the Elections Petition filed by Ganga Persaud, which is yet to be heard; and a deposit on fees for $2 million, plus $280,000 VAT for representation in the application for judicial review filed by me, which is in the process of being heard. And the Chairman, without any discussion or recourse to any input from the Commission decides that Chase will not yet be paid!While on the subject of legal fees, the CEO reported that he has not yet received an invoice from Teni Housty for representation in the judicial review matter filed in Berbice. The CEO said the Chairman is in charge of getting that invoice since it was the Chairman who had procured Housty’s services. The Chairman is now Procurement Officer for legal services!!This meeting was informed that the printing of ballot papers for the LGE was complete and that the two Commissioners – Gunraj and Corbin – are to oversee the sealing for shipment on Wednesday and return to Guyana on Thursday and Sunday respectively. All this while, there are outstanding requests by at least four candidates for withdrawal with no action by the CEO to effect their withdrawals and no decision on the deletion of nominators’ names from lists even though persons had submitted affidavits and requests for withdrawal of names and that such withdrawals could and would affect the validity of the inclusion of some candidates.Asked about reports in the press that the Alliance For Change (AFC) campaign manager had announced that the AFC was withdrawing from contesting between 10 and 15 areas for which they has submitted candidates, the CEO claimed that he had not been informed by the AFC of any such thing and all the ballots have been printed. This now seems that the AFC made that public announcement, to detract from its candidates’ submission of lists with fraudulent or forged signatures of nominators, and to gain some sympathy from the electors!What a tangled web we weave!On the issue of house-to-house registration, to the tune of nearly $4 billion I the 2019 Budget proposals, while those of us on the north side of the table maintain that at this time that will only serve to try to delay the 2010 elections, those on the south side staunchly maintain that the decision had been made eons ago to have such registrations done every seven years, the last having been done in 2008 another has been due since 2015! Never mind the fact that budget proposals to do one in 2016 was slashed in 2016, they are adamant that house-to-house registration can be done in 2019! We just as staunchly disagreed, and I reminded of my comment, when the proposals for 2019 were being made, that ‘if the Minister of Finance can find the fiscal space to accommodate the sum of $4 billion in the 2019 budget then the question I have will be answered’.There is no fiscal space to pay persons a living wage, or to pay the disemployed sugar workers their severance, or to do so any other things necessary for a decent life, let alone ‘the good life’, so to find the fiscal space for $4 billion for new house-to-house registration for the 2020 elections, will reveal clear intent, would it not?The report of the Finance Subcommittee still has not been incorporated as part of the minutes, so there could be no discussion about the very real issues surrounding the attendance of the Legal Officer at courses in the United Kingdom, to the tune of more than $4 million, on the sole approval of the Chairman acting on his own without discussion or recourse to the Commission. The recommendation of Commissioner Alexander, member of the said Subcommitte that the Chairman be ‘admonished’, and the recommendation of Commissioner Benn that the Chairman be surcharged, is a battle for another day.Arrangements for Disciplined Services voting on November 2, 2018, remains elusive. No ballot stations have yet been identified or shared, no lists have been published or shared so no stakeholder can make preparations for their agents to observe voting on D-day. The CEO keeps making promises he seems unable to keep while time is fast becoming shorter and shorter.The CEO also reported that there was no application by any observer groups in response to the advertisement for local elections observers. Apparently, the GPSU, the US Embassy and the PSC had indicated their intention to field observers, but this was before the ad was placed.Today’s meeting was shortened when it lost a quorum after I had to leave due to a severe case of what everyone refers to as ‘the flu’ which seems prevalent in our very insanitary Georgetown environment.Until next week when I hope more will be revealed if we manage to ask the right questions.Respectfully,Bibi Shadick,GECOM Commissionerlast_img read more

  • Michu in line to return to Swansea in January

    first_img1 Swansea forward Michu could have his loan to Napoli ended early as he is getting to sent to Portugal in a desperate attempt to cure his nagging ankle injury.The Spanish star joined the Serie A side in the summer, on a season-long loan, with a view to a permanent move at the end of this season.However, the 28-year-old has endured a miserable time in Naples with Rafa Benitez’s side and has made only three league appearances and there are now reports his loan could be brought to a premature end in January.A year ago Michu was suffering a similar problem and he was sent to Portugal for an operation which then kept him out for six weeks.Michu scored 18 Premier League goals in his first season at the Welsh club during 2012-13 but the following campaign was a disappointment when he notched just twice. Michu in action for Napoli last_img read more

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