All is not well at GECOM (Pt 1)

first_imgDear Editor,The recent myriad of media articles regarding walkouts by PPP/C Commissioners from meetings of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) indicates that all is not well with the manner in which matters are being addressed by the Chairman. It has brought to the fore questions of reasonableness and acceptance regarding the decision of sanctions exercised, as well as the role of the Commissioners.The objective of functioning members of the Commission and the approach to achieving the ideals of the institution have been put into the public domain for scrutiny, given the recent handling of matters. On one hand, there have been press conferences called by the Chairman as well as the two stakeholder political party Commissioners, through which the parties sought to clarify the obviously reprehensible treatment of divide over an issue raised by Commissioner Benn at the meeting forum. On the other hand, it is to be wondered whether the issues raised are appropriate or relevant.The constitutionally enshrined autonomy of GECOM excludes direct external interference with decisions of the commission. At the same time, it recognises the policy-making role of balanced representation through persons drawn from political constituencies. Under Article 226 of the Constitution, as amended by the Constitution (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2000, it is provided that the ‘quorum’ for a meeting of the Commission shall be the Chairman and not less than four members of the Commission – two each appointed by the President and the Opposition respectively.In relation to the functions of GECOM on the part of persons exercising powers or performing duties connected with elections matter, the Commission is constitutionally obliged to act with impartiality and fairness in the execution of its duties, in keeping with Section 162 (1) of the Constitution, Cap. 1.01. Of note also is the insulation of the Commission’s decisions regarding policy matters.Importantly too, the role of political party nominees to the GECOM (eg. Commissioners) is posited in Section 161B of the Constitution, which states: “It is hereby declared that the role of political parties and their nominees in the conduct of elections by the Elections Commission shall be limited to their participation in determining policy, monitoring the electoral process and the conduct of the election, but does not include active management of the electoral process.”While this position is broadly articulated on the GECOM website, the recent revelations from the press conferences suggest that the concerns were appropriately raised in the context of impartiality and fairness. One has to now contemplate the many shades of grey and the need for multiple focal lens through which the organisation is seen based on published comments quoting the Chairman and members of the Commission.Sincerely,Neil Kumar JP, MPlast_img read more

Incest, TIP widespread in Amerindian communities – Lawrence

first_img…urges communities to stand up against wrongsConcern is brewing within the Social Protection Ministry over the rising number of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) cases and incest in Indigenous communities, Minister Volda Lawrence said on Wednesday.During the ministry’s presentation at this year’s annual National Toshao Conference (NTC) at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, Lawrence revealed that the numbers are swelling in the hinterland among Indigenous peoples.She made a call for the leaders of the 212 plus communities to proactively protect their women and children and report cases of sexual violence and TIP.She stated that while the ministry must act decisively to combat the growing scourge, the leaders also have their roles to play. It was emphasised that young people, especially Indigenous women are leaving their homes and families in search of jobs in other communities and when they are promised employment they end up being exploited and worked as slaves or sex workers.The ministry promised to collaborate with the leaders to quickly address the issues affecting these communities. Lawrence stated that the people have adopted a passive approach in tackling issues of rape, incest and TIP in their communities, with most of them remaining mum on the issues.She recalled visiting the community Kwakwani and seeing a child mothering another child. She said the child was 13 years and the baby was one-year-old and that was accepted in the village. She said no one raised their voice against it. She pointed out that teenage pregnancy is one of the harsh realities that bedevil child abuse and rape.Speaking to the Toshaos and councillors, Lawrence pleaded that if they are going to prosecute perpetrators, the elders need to stand up and speak out instead of allowing them to continue living in the communities, or their homes.Earlier this year the community of Annai complained of a growing number of teenage pregnancies at the village’s Secondary School. It was reported that there were five teenage pregnancies at the school, all of which went underreported.It was reported that as soon as these girls become pregnant they would drop out of school and return to their villages and never benefiting from any counselling.On the contrary, participants stated that counselling is usually carried out on a one off basis, with hardly any follow-ups on victims of sexual abuse and TIPs.Acknowledging this fact, the minister stated that the ministry is suffering from a shortage of probation officers but was quick to assure that they are taking the necessary measures to ensure that the officers available would carry out follow-ups.President David Granger, when delivering his feature address at the NTC conference last week, stated that sexual abuse of children were rampant in Indigenous communities; and noted that there were many incidences of teenage pregnancy, child abuse, school drop-outs, and illiteracy.last_img read more

Granger maintains Govt position despite calls for non-assent

first_imgControversial Broadcast Bill…says critics need to see both sides of the picturePresident David Granger has maintained Government’s stance on the controversial Broadcast Bill and has called on those who criticise the move to see that the objective is towards the benefit of all Guyanese.The Parliamentary Opposition recently said that it was prepared to challenge the Bill in court, however, the Head of State has called on critics, to fully understandPresident David Grangerthe reasons behind Government moving in that direction.According to him, it is Government’s objective to ensure that every Guyanese, whether they live on the coastland or the interior regions, have access to public information.“We are prepared to listen to the comments and criticisms. But we must always bear in mind that Guyana is a thinly populated country, the population density is just about a few persons per square kilometre. Most of the media houses are concentrated on the coastland and Georgetown. There are huge areas of the country that do not have media coverage. We need to correct that,” The Head of State said.He stressed that there will most likely be an “information deficit” if the media remain central in the capital city and its environs and are not covering certain issues.President Granger said a lot of thought was put into the drafting of the bill, and that government is prepared to listen to any comments and criticism. However, those criticisms must be given with a clear understanding of what government is seeking to do.He admitted that there are some elements of the bill that have caused some concern, but he asked again that the critics be more aware of the peculiar nature of Guyana and ensure that all communities are given access to information. The President said he supports the private media as he supports the freedom of information, but noted that Government also has an obligation to ensure that all corners of the country is well informed about what is happening in the various sectors.He said Government has begun a program of establishing broadcasting services starting from Region one (Barima Waini) to Region Nine (Upper Takatu/Upper Essequibo).“This is the way we have to go. We have to think about the function of public information,” he said continuing that it is not Government’s intention to prevent any media from fulfilling its constitutional role, but that Government has a responsibility of ensuring the security of the country.“We have an obligation and I would like to ask the critics of the broadcast bill to see both sides of the picture,” he said.Government had come under fire from stakeholders, including the International Press Association, about its mode of operation regarding the bill, which was passed in the National Assembly recently. Part of the bill mandates that all television and radio stations provide one hour for the broadcast of Public Service Announcements (PSA).Opposition Member of Parliament Anil Nandlall said recently that the PPP would challenge the matter in court, since the Bill tramples on the right to press freedom.He said the matter would be challenged on several grounds, but particularly on ground of the licence having the same spectrum reach. The other aspect of the legal challenge will be based on the mandatory imposition of one hour of Government service on private broadcasters’ media.The parliamentary Opposition has maintained that the Bill in its current form is ‘unconstitutional’, and will have several implications on private broadcasters. Broadcasters have been advised to challenge the Bill in court, because it would have far reaching repercussions that could harm their businesses.Apart from obtaining a conservatory order, Nandlall said, those who file the court action could seek damages for breach of constitutional rights.Private broadcast companies have since come out in criticism of the Government over the proposed bill, and have asked for deferral of its debate and passage.The Guyana Press Association has also criticise the Government over the proposed Broadcast Amendment Bill and asked for the deferral.Additionally, several international organisations including International Press Institute (IPI), Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF), called Reporters Without Borders, also urged the President not to assent to this controversial bill without “consultations with broadcasters, in order to take into account their recommendations”.last_img read more

Kwale shock holders Wiyeta in School Games

first_imgThe final round of matches on Thursday will serve up for some excitement with Wiyeta taking on Arch Bishop Njenga in a must win tie while Kwale will take on the group’s punching bags Matuu.Whoever wins by a bigger margin between Kwale and Wiyeta will qualify for the last four.“We had some mistakes in defense and that is what cost us because that goal we conceded was easily avoidable. We will work on the mistakes we saw today for the game tomorrow and I am optimistic we can qualify. It is not easy though,” Edgar Manyara, the Wiyeta Girls head coach said.His opposite number Mukasa Amboko was elated with the result and he looks forward to thump Matuu in their final game and qualify for the last four at the expense of the defending champions.“We studied how they played yesterday and we knew if we shut down their best players, we will have chance at qualifying. Last year in the nationals we finished number eight but this time, I am sure we will get something,” Amboko said.Kwale showed they are no pushovers from the onset and had a few chances to score with Lucy Kwekwe attempting an effort with a volley from the edge of the box but it went over.On the opposite end, Wiyeta skipper Jentrix Shikangwa who turns out for Harambee Starlets Under 20 was at the heart of attacks for the defending champions and had three chances back to back to break the deadlock.First, her 24th minute curling effort forced a great save from the Kwale keeper while three minutes later, her shot from the edge of the box greased the upright after dribbling to find some shooting space. A minute later, she had an effort on the turn which went inches wide.Wiyeta were made to pay for the missed chances in the 36th minute when captain Koko made the most of a defensive miss to race to the ball and lob past the advancing keeper.Shikangwa almost drew her side level four minutes to half time but her volley off a corner went inches wide.Action between Wiyeta Girls and Kwale during their National Secondary School Games in Eldoret on July 25, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluIn the second half, Wiyeta pushed Kwale to their own half in search of an equalizer and possible winner, but the stumbling wall to their efforts was Kombo Mwajuma who pulled save after save especially in the final 10 minutes of the game.Diana Musili broke away for Wiyeta to face Mwajuma one on one but the keeper made a brilliant stop to turn the ball behind for a corner. Minutes later, the keeper did well to tap the ball behind for a corner from Rodah Nafula’s long range effort.At the stroke of full time she was well placed again to deny another of Musili’s attempts.Meanwhile, their Under-16 team has progressed to the semi-finals of the Copa Cocacola tournament after beating Sega Girls 2-0 in their second group match. They move to six points having beaten holders Olympic from Nairobi 5-0 on Tuesday.Against Sega who also won their opening game, Wiyeta completed the job in the first half with Jacinta Karemana scoring her third goal in two matches for the opener in the 16th minute before Sarah Wanjala completed the job 10 minutes later.At the same time, holders Olympic resuscitated their semi-final hopes with a 4-1 win over Central’s Alliance.Maureen Awino grabbed a brace for Olympic before Bilha Nelima and Rose Mukuto scored one each to complete the rout.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Action between Wiyeta Girls and Kwale during their National Secondary School Games in Eldoret on July 25, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluELDORET, Kenya, Jul 25- Captain Koko Elizabeth’s first half goal was all Kwale Girls needed to shock defending champions Wiyeta 1-0 on Wednesday morning to revive their hopes of making it into the semi-finals of the Kenya National Secondary School Games in Eldoret.The victory saw Kwale move to three points having lost their opening game 3-1 to Arch Bishop Njenga who have qualified for the semi-finals after winning their second game with a 7-0 spanking of Matuu Girls who have exited the competition.last_img read more

Kwan is gone, not forgotten

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa AnitaOnly the winner of the women’s event is guaranteed a spot on the Olympic team, with the federation’s International Committee selecting the other two athletes after tonight’s free skate. There are 35 people on the committee, but at least nine will have to recuse themselves because of personal or professional conflicts; a simple majority is needed. The committee will base its selection on how athletes fared at six competitions. They are, in order of importance: nationals, the 2005 Grand Prix final, the 2005 world championships, the 2005 Four Continents championships, the 2005 Junior Grand Prix final and the 2005 world junior championships. Kwan also had to be examined by a doctor selected by U.S. Figure Skating to prove she was physically ready to compete in Turin. “She was seen by a doctor at his office (on Thursday) and had a complete examination of the groin injury,” Kwan’s agent, Shep Goldberg, told The Associated Press. Neither Kwan nor U.S. Figure Skating had seen the report as of Friday afternoon. Goldberg also said Kwan resumed jumping again. “It’s (U.S. Figure Skating’s) job to pick three skaters that will place the highest at the Olympics,” said Sasha Cohen, who had a comfortable lead after the short program. “I really am not too deep in the politics of U.S. Figure Skating, but I definitely think whoever it is that doesn’t get to go would be devastated.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ST. LOUIS – Michelle Kwan is dominating the national championships, even from half a country away. The nine-time champion is at home nursing a groin injury and is missing the U.S. Figure Skating Championships for the first time since 1991. But she’s petitioned for a spot on the Olympic team, and the “Should she or shouldn’t she?” debate has sparked more interest than anything happening on the ice. center_img Fans are wearing buttons and T-shirts supporting Kwan. Each of the top women repeatedly has been asked what she thinks, and coaches and choreographers have weighed in, too. Even men’s contender Evan Lysacek had his pre-event news conference hijacked by Kwan questions. “No, I’m not surprised that it’s a huge deal,” Ron Hershberger, president of U.S. Figure Skating, said Friday. “Michelle has been a marvelous champion. She’s a terrific athlete. It’s clear that skating fans everywhere adore her, and they should. She’s been a terrific image for the sport of figure skating, so I’m not surprised that there’s all this attention.” last_img read more