first_imgEVERTON (4-1-3-2)HOWARD,COLEMAN, STONES, MORI, BAINES,BARRY,DEULOFEU, CLEVERLEY, BARKLEY ,KONE, LUKAKUVARDY, ULLOA,MAHREZ, DRINKWATER, KANTE, ALBRIGHTON,DE LAET, FUCHS, MORGAN, SIMPSON,SCHMEICHELLEICESTER (4-4-1-1)Leicester City are back on the top of the Barclays Premier League after another hugely impressive win, the 2-1 home victory over reigning champions Chelsea.It was their ninth league game without defeat; during that marvellous spell they have taken 23 points from a possible 27, with England striker Jamie Vardy claiming his 15th goal of the season against Chelsea and Riyad Mahrez adding his 12th.Everton return to Goodison Park after drawing 1-1 with Norwich City at Carrow Road last weekend where Romelu Lukaku scored his 15th goal of the season and eighth in the last seven Barclays Premier League and Capital One Cup games.The last three Premier League meetings between these teams have ended in draws, including both matches last season which both finished 2-2. At the King Power Stadium in Leicester the home side came from behind twice to earn a point.At Goodison, Leicester were leading 2-1 until an 88th minute own goal by Matthew Upson cost the visitors two points.last_img read more

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