Mitigating the risk of elections rigging

first_imgDear Editor,I am grateful that the Carter Center will be observing the upcoming polls. I have also read in Times that more international experts arrived to assist GECOM and to prevent rigging. This is a step in the right direction to restoring democracy in Guyana but it does mean we can relax. We are approaching the March 2 polls against the following backdrop:· The election comes on the cusp of mega oil finds.· The last election was decided by less than 5000 votes, which means there is no margin for error.· PNC which morphed into APNU is the incumbent and that party has a long history of electoral fraud.· PNC/APNU supporters dominate GECOM but notably also the justice system and the security forces.· Experience with the NCM has shown that PNC/APNU/AFC is prepared to break the law to remain in office.· There is abundant evidence to show the incumbent, APNU/AFC, is abusing state funds and resources to fund their campaign and buy votes. This include the misuse of budgetary funding, the gifting of contracts to supporters, spending outside of the budget, use of state owned resources – vehicles and public servants and the state owned media, disproportionately, for campaign purposes.Given the institutional bias within GECOM and the limited number of international observer personnel it is imperative for the Observer Missions to deploy their resources in a coherent and strategic manner to mitigate the risk of election rigging. The following are the key issues in my opinion:1. The List – If the list is padded with fake names the risk of rigging goes up exponentially. The Carter Center should obtain the list, which was certified for and used in the LGE in November 2018, and zero in on all subsequent additions and deletions. There is no case for GECOM to add even one unverified name from the H2H given that a single vote could be material as was seen in May 2015 in Region 8. Secondly, if unverified names are included in the list this could be an opportunity to later challenge the results in the Courts where the incumbent knows it has an advantage.2. Ballot Stuffing – The hour prior to close of polls extending to the end of the count, verification and posting of the results is the most crucial period. If observers wish to prevent rigging they have to be present in high risk areas where violence and threats are used by rogue agents to suppress voters and to gain unrestricted access to ballots to carry out ballot box stuffing i.e. the illegal conversion of unused ballots for their own party’s benefit. These high risk areas are well known and exist mostly in Region 4. If the list is padded, more ballot paper will be in the field than necessary and this compounds the problem. It is therefore important for observers to have a permanent presence in these high risk areas until the SOPs and ballot boxes are dispatched.3. Transposing the Results – I have belatedly learnt that at the May 2015 polls, where PPP/C agents were not present and this is mainly because of threats and violence in high risk areas mentioned above, rogue agents with an affiliation to the incumbent transposed the voting results when it did not suit their purpose. In other instances, their party’s turnout was inflated and simultaneously subtracted from the other contestants.The accurate compilation of the SOP is crucial and again it is dependent on observers and party representatives being on hand to witness same. Only the diplomatic community has the leverage to pressure this caretaker Government and the police for the latter to be present during and after the count and to safeguard and escort said observers and party representatives out of violence prone zones. Given the high risk and low materiality, any failure on this front will lead to a compromised ballot.It is important to point out that by noon of polling day in the May 2015 elections the Carter Center announced that the election was free and fair. If this was a lesson consider it lesson learnt. However, in interest of restoring democracy in Guyana we cannot afford another premature declaration.For persons who are now learning that voting results were transposed it is only because the previous GECOM Chairman was keen to prevent violence and because the Courts, nearly 5 years later is still hear the PPP/C Election Petition, that illegal acts from the 2015 Elections remain hidden from public view.3. Preventing Collusion from Within – International observers have to be present within GECOM to get a firsthand view of what is happening in real time. This level of monitoring is important to (a) assess and stress test the system and the people operating it, (b) prevent collusion and the covering up of illegal acts and (c) to gather data from internal sources for comparison and corroboration with information from external sources.4. Securing the Ballots – The observers should ensure adequate measures are in place to physically secure used and unused ballots and SOPs in the event they are needed for validation. Ideally, they have to assess security features on SOPs and ballots and reconcile ballot inventory ordered, paid for, received, dispatched, returned and utilized.5. Expediting the Results – The longer it takes to announce the results the more opportunities for manipulation and the more the likelihood for unrest and violence. By my estimation the numerical results could be tabulated in under six hours and it should not take more than 12 hours to physically receive and recount any ballot box from the most remote region in Guyana. The swift announcement of the results could prevent a Nigel Hughes – 34 is majority of 65 argument. In the same vein, the diplomatic community must be prepared to take a firm stance against any interference or spurious legal challenge to the elections results.6. Setting the Tone – The diplomatic community knows that in 1992 Hoyte had to be read the riot act before he agreed to free and fair elections and even then rogue elements in the PNC were ready to loot and burn. There is now widespread concern that the March 2 polls will be rigged and there is speculation that preparation for same began with the undocumented Haitians. We have to expect the worst and this is why getting the list right will be a crucial first step.The Carter Center through the diplomatic community should make it known that attempts to rig the elections will not be tolerated in the strongest possible language.On behalf of all Guyanese who desire free and fair elections our many thanks to President Carter and his team and the other Observer Missions that are here.Sincerely,Ravi Ramlast_img read more

Moruca sub-district gets donation of boats, engines

first_imgResidents within the Moruca sub-district in Region One (Barima-Waini), will no longer face difficulties transporting patients along the Moruca river in times of emergency.The two boats and outboard engines that were donatedFor the villages of Warapoka and Waikrebi, as well as neighbouring villages, these difficulties have been alleviated with the donation of two boats which are outfitted with outboard engines and fuel tanks to the Toshaos of the villages of Warapoka and Waikrebi located along the Moruca River.According to the Department of Public Information (DPI), the simple handing over ceremony was held at the Moruca Bridge, which was recently upgraded at a cost of $119 million, and saw in attendance Member of Parliament and ministerial advisor to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Mervyn Williams, who was in the sub-district for consultations on the revision of the Amerindian Act.Williams, while attesting to the timeliness of the boats being donated, stated that he also hopes that they could be used to ferry the elderly who often have to travel from their villages at their own expense to be able to get their pensions.Member of Parliament Mervyn Williams hands over the keys of the engine to Toshao of Warapoka Alan HenryDr Derron Moonsammy said that the boats are long overdue and that he is happy to finally have them as it will have a great impact on the health services offered in the region, explaining that oftentimes, they are unable to transfer patients because of the unavailability of boats or there is simply no gas available.The sub-district includes a number of villages located along the Moruca River, where for some, the only means of access is by speedboat, making it extremely difficult during emergencies to ferry patients for better medical care as boats are not always readily available.Residents present at the ceremony expressed their gratitude with having the boats delivered. Also grateful were some of the elders who were happy to hear that they will be able to rely on the boats to be able to go and receive their pensions.last_img read more

Once-bedridden teen given 2nd chance at life

first_imgThe thankful father, Yacoob ShawAnnandale fatal accident– says he misses his friend tremendously By Davina RamdassThere was once a time when relatives of Reaz Shaw were not sure whether he would ever speak, walk or even survive following a tragic accident at Annandale on the East Coast of Demerara that claimed the life of his friend.Today, however, Reaz not only speaks and walks but also rides his bicycle, like he was doing back in December, when he and his friend, 15-year-old Karamchand Khemraj, were struck by a speeding Toyota minibus, reportedly driven by Chinese nationals who did not stop to render assistance.On Wednesday, Guyana Times visited the Lot 35 Annandale Public Road home of Reaz, who was out taking a midday ride. Although he almost lost his life riding, he said he is not afraid and it is, in fact, one of his hobbies.His father, however, is very concerned and worried about him riding his bicycle but told Guyana Times that his son has been riding since he was a young child.When it comes to his health, 16-year-old Reaz seemed to be back to normal, except for his left hand which was severely injured. He explained how it was broken after the bus slammed into him and his friend but rectified after surgeries.The teen had not only broken his arm but had sustained severe brain damage which left him paralysed and unable to function as a normal teenager.Today he is able to move his arm, but not stretch it completely due to surgical procedures which saw steel being placed in his hand.Shaw had spent well over two months at the Georgetown Public Hospital, where he was unconscious and unable to do basic things for himself.He said, “I’m feeling good for now, like one and two things like what I do I does forget it, not all time”.On the emotional side of things, the teen said although he feels much better, he misses his friend tremendously. He recalled how the two of them were like brothers and always shared everything as they grew up together.He also said that Khemraj’s parents, who lived nearby, had moved out as they were missing their son as well.“I thought I wudda die. Some days I sit down and realise what happened and I say watch how things happen. I study him but you know I can’t take on cause he done die. I miss him, I miss him bad cause you know like anywhere he ah go he does carry me, anyway me ah go me say come boy and we gone,” he shared.Although he would have loved to, the teen shared that he was unable to finish school due to his brain injuries and damaged hand which did not permit him to write at the required pace, among other things.His father, Yacoob Shaw, on the other hand, is more than happy to see him alive and at home as he too was scared that he would have lost his youngest child. He recalled, “The day when the accident happened, my wife called me and tell me Reaz get knock down…when we go in the hospital, them start pump air into he and the next boy, lil after we come out the next boy die”.Although he is disappointed that a driver sped off and almost killed his child, the elder Shaw is confident that he cannot run from God.When it comes to his son riding again, the father of the young man said although he is fearful at times he is overwhelmed with joy to see his son active again, given that he was unable to do anything for himself at one point.“He eye de close, he couldn’t do nothing for himself. We used to feed him from tubes through he nose. Sometimes he sit down on the chair there and he fall back so, he can’t balance he own self, [he was] like a piece stick stand up.”The teen’s father said he and other close relatives were worried about him a lot, but never lost hope and believed that he could be normal again.He was almost moved to tears as he thanked the public for praying for his son and assisting them in every way possible. The teen said he was extremely grateful for the man who took him to the hospital in his van and wishes if he could see him again.Based on reports received, the teens were heading home from a nearby shop on a pedal cycle when a speeding white Toyota Hiace ‘Pitbull’ minibus struck them down from behind and continued on its journey without stopping.Both boys were picked up and rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where Khemraj died about an hour later while receiving medical attention. Shaw was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the medical facility. Nevertheless, the teen is optimistic that he is alive and looks forward to the future no matter what is in store.Reaz Shaw engrossed in his favourite pastimelast_img read more

‘We are a mess from top to bottom!’ – Manchester United fans rage after letting two goal lead slip to Newcastle

first_img1 Wayne Rooney was back to his best in the thrilling draw Manchester United fans had been screaming out for a thrilling game involving their side for months, with some even claiming they would prefer a 3-3 draw than a 1-0 win.On Tuesday night, they got their wish as United attacked better than they had all season, yet fell to a late stunner from Paul Dummett.Wayne Rooney was a revelation as he scored twice and began to show signs he was getting back to the form which has taken him to within touching distance of Sir Bobby Charlton’s Manchester United goalscoring record.However, despite the pleasing attacking display, United fans vented their anger and frustration at failing to put the game to bed.See the best reaction to the exhilarating match at St James’ Park below! center_img [View the story “‘We are a mess from top to bottom!’ Manchester United fans rage after letting two goal lead slip to Newcastle ” on Storify]last_img read more

GLORIOUS (MAINLY!): THE DD WEEKEND WEATHER REPORT WITH THE MOUNT ERRIGAL HOTEL

first_imgDONEGAL Daily Weekend Weather Report, in association with The Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny, Tel 07491 22700.Outlook – Another glorious weekend ahead, apart from Saturday morning rain, we will see loads of sunshine.FRIDAY … It will be a cold start, with a grass frost in some inland areas as temperatures fall overnight to just 2C or 3C. But Donegal will see sunshine for most of Friday, with just light winds, and temperatures of up to 16C in the afternoon. There is the chance of the odd shower, especially in the west of the county, but generally another glorious day for the county. Temperatures will fall no lower than 9C on Friday night as heavy rain hits the county from around 2am Saturday. SATURDAY …Saturday will start very wet with widespread rain and/or showers for the county; but these will clear by the afternoon with bright sunshine once again and temperatures of up to 15C or higher. Saturday evening will see the best of the sunshine.SUNDAY: Sunday will start misty and dull but it will soon brighten up and temperatures will rise once again to 16C or 17C with loads of sunshine, the best of this in the afternoon.ENJOY…wonderful food from Donegal’s only Josper Grill, making mouth-watering meals for you and your family. To book a table at Dexter’s call The Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny, Tel 07491 22700.GLORIOUS (MAINLY!): THE DD WEEKEND WEATHER REPORT WITH THE MOUNT ERRIGAL HOTEL was last modified: April 25th, 2014 by John2Share 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:donegal daily weathermount errigal hotel letterkennyshowerssunshinelast_img read more

Supreme Court hears Anna Nicole Smith’s case

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! With an oil fortune on the line, former stripper Anna Nicole Smith encountered a sympathetic audience at the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Several justices said they were concerned that the one-time Playboy Playmate was kept from pursuing a piece of her late husband’s fortune. “It’s quite a story,” said Justice Stephen Breyer. Smith married oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II in 1994 when he was 89 and she was a 26-year-old topless dancer in Texas. Marshall died the following year. His fortune has been estimated at as much as $1.6 billion. One of his two sons claims he is the only heir. Breyer said there was evidence that the son hired private detectives to keep Smith away from her elderly husband’s bedside. Smith’s claim is simple, said Justice David Souter, “just give me the money I would have had.” Justices repeatedly referred to the amount of money at stake, and criticized arguments that only a Texas court had jurisdiction to settle the nasty family feud. “That’s just not the way our system works,” said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the only woman justice. About two dozen photographers swarmed Smith and her attorney as they left through a side door of the court building after the hearing, then sped away in a black SUV. Earlier, when she arrived, several photographers were knocked to the ground in their zeal to get a picture of Smith, dressed in a knee-length dress, high heels and black sunglasses. Smith, the spokeswoman for a diet product company, was awarded $474 million by a federal bankruptcy judge. That was later reduced by a federal district judge and then thrown out altogether by a federal appeals court on jurisdictional grounds. The high court’s eventual ruling will determine whether Smith gets another chance at part of Marshall’s estate. The justices are dealing with a technical question: When may federal courts hear claims that involve state probate proceedings? Smith lost in Texas state courts, which found that E. Pierce Marshall was the sole heir to his father’s estate. Huge crowds packed the court. “Most people will do a double take,” said Edward Morrison, a former Supreme Court clerk who specializes in bankruptcy law at Columbia University. “It raises the novelty level and makes a technical issue somewhat more entertaining.” Douglas Baird, a bankruptcy expert at the University of Chicago, said: “I’d suspect some justices haven’t the slightest idea who Anna Nicole is.” The Bush administration is siding with Smith as a technical matter, arguing that the justices should protect federal court jurisdiction in such disputes. Marshall showered Smith with $6.6 million in gifts that included two homes, $2.8 million in jewelry and $700,000 in clothes, and she contends that he also promised her half his estate. Pierce Marshall said various wills and trusts his father prepared over the years made him the only heir. A federal court ruled in 2002 that Smith was entitled to compensatory and punitive damages because Pierce Marshall altered, destroyed and falsified documents to try to keep her from receiving money from his father’s estate. He denies any wrongdoing, and that decision was thrown out. The case is Marshall v. Marshall, 04-1544.last_img read more

DDTV: DONEGAL ACTOR DESSIE KEEPS HIS TOE IN THE BUSINESS!

first_imgHe’s best known as dopey Dessie in the Bulmer’s advert.But now Letterkenny actor Dessie Gallagher has a new part in what is set to become a very popular commercial – this time for the irish Pharmaceutical Union. Simply click on the video to see Dessie keeping his toe in the acting game!DDTV: DONEGAL ACTOR DESSIE KEEPS HIS TOE IN THE BUSINESS! was last modified: October 19th, 2014 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:Dessie GallagherdonegalIrish Pharmaceutical UnionTV advertlast_img read more

LOCAL STABLE OWNERS TO PRESENT STUBBEN PORTFOLIO

first_imgJacqui O’Neill and Drew Blaney will be hosting an evening to present the Stubben portfolio.The latest range of Stubben saddles, bridles and accesories. In addition Representatives from locally based companies will be speaking on their respective areas of expertise eg. Feed, bedding, farrier, dentist, physio.The event will take place on Monday the 11th of July at Drew Blaney’s yard, Bowhirrl Stables, Mountain Top, Letterkenny, from 5pm to 9pm. For further information contact Drew Blaney on 0877985655 or Jacqui O’Neil on 0868207909.It promises to be a very interesting and enlightening evening.LOCAL STABLE OWNERS TO PRESENT STUBBEN PORTFOLIO was last modified: July 8th, 2016 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:donegalDREW BLANEYSTUBBEN PORTFOLIOlast_img read more

England U21 boss Aidy Boothroyd believes St George’s Park starting to pay off

first_imgEngland Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd believes the Young Lions are reaping the rewards of their St George’s Park blueprint. The 46-year-old has guided England into the semi-finals of Euro 2017 in Poland after a 3-0 win over the hosts on Thursday. It is the first time they have reached the knockout stages at the tournament since 2009 after winning Group A in Kielce. The team’s progress follows the Under-20s’ World Cup win earlier this month while the Under-17s were runners-up at their European Championships in May.And Boothroyd feels England teams are now starting to play with confidence at major tournaments. “I think we are. It is all part of a long-term plan. The building of St George’s Park, the players in terms of personnel in important positions. There has been some investment into it. I think it is starting to bear fruit,” he said.“We have got good players at all age groups and the fact that we are getting this experience at these stages of tournaments is good for English football. It gives us a bit of a boost with the development teams. Gareth’s (Southgate) appointment (as senior manager) has given everyone a lift.”Lewis Baker’s late penalty added to goals from Demarai Gray and Jacob Murphy against Poland, with their opponents finishing the game with 10 men after Jan Bednarek was dismissed for conceding the spot-kick. It came after a 2-1 win over Slovakia and last week’s opening 0-0 draw with Sweden, where Jordan Pickford saved a late penalty.Boothroyd said: “We seem to be growing in confidence, which is good. We don’t want to peak too early. I didn’t plan Sweden 0 England 0 but when you look at it now, it looks like a really good point and a really good save from Jordan.“That is what it is about in tournaments. It’s about getting momentum, keeping confidence and obviously keeping everyone fit. Hopefully we can continue to improve. But it was an outstanding performance.”But the former Watford and Northampton manager faces an anxious wait to discover the extent of injuries to Nathaniel Chalobah and Nathan Redmond after the pair were forced off against Poland. He added: “They both just felt tweaks and it was a decision I had to make, whether I kept them on or change it around. Thankfully the lads who came on did really, really well.” Aidy Boothroyd 1last_img read more

ATHLETICS – LIFFORD AC NOTES – MCGLYNN WINS KILLYCLOGHER 10K

first_imgAnn Marie McGlynn continued her rich vain of form in Killyclogher on Saturday morning. Ann Marie crossed the line in an winning time of 35.21 which is a PB for the Lifford Ac woman.Ann Marie has had a great winter of training and this will set her up now well for the summer ahead. Lifford Ac had 12 athletes in total at this outing with a host of them recording PB’s. Times are as followsAnn Marie McGlynn 35:21pbClaire McGuigan 42:26 Kevin Connolly 42:26Dom Carlin 42:36 pbConor Hayes 45:52 pbLiam Maguire 46.18 pbPadraig Magloinsigh 46:48 pbAmanda Monaghan 48:18 pbJacqui Timoney 50:14 pb Rachel Friel 50:48 pbAudrey Friel 55:56 pbTracey Hayes 58.00 pbOn Saturday evening at the 4 mile event staged in Letterkenny, Isabella Breslin was Lifford’s only participant. Isabella impressed winning the Master Shot Putt event with a throw of 8:22 with is a pb for the Lifford Woman, and placed 3rd overall. ATHLETICS – LIFFORD AC NOTES – MCGLYNN WINS KILLYCLOGHER 10K was last modified: May 19th, 2013 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:Lifford AC noteslast_img read more