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Elections count for nothing if not “free & fair”– GECOM Chair


first_img-as staff warned to ensure smooth running of polling stations Training of Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) instructors got underway on Saturday with Chairman James Patterson stressing the importance of instructors maintaining their professionalism and ensuring that their wards understand the importance of “free and fair” elections.GECOM has been entwined in Elections Day controversies before, and on Saturday, at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE), Patterson was firm in his instructions to the instructors. He made it clear that the elections would count for nought if they are not declared free and fair.“I have discovered, since they declared me to be chairman of the outfit, what an important part GECOM plays in the public forum of this country,” Patterson informed the gathering. “I think the Commission anywhere takes the part even of the politicians, because we endure not only to see elections go smoothly, but we are here all the time. Politicians go and come at the beck and call of the electorate. One of the qualities that should permeate GECOM and those who function in it is that you have to see that elections are run free and fair. My template for that is India. Don’t have time to go through all of it, but they have thousands of polling places. They have gone through metamorphosis of change, and India has been declared to be the largest democracy in the world. I hope GECOM will put an end to that (being seen as crooked), in terms of position.”Chairman Patterson reminded the gathered staff that they are essentially running the elections. He urged the workers to put all their effort into learning the election procedures being taught.“Do you realise that elections are of no avail if they are not declared to be free and fair?” Patterson questioned. “Although we are in our infancy as an independent country, we aren’t doing too (badly). I mean to say that democracy and free and fair elections are like conjoined twins; you cannot have one without the other.”The training is expected to last for two days, during which trainers will endeavour to cover polling day protocol, among other things. GECOM has been allocated over $2 billion in order to hold Local Government Elections (LGE), which are due in a matter of months.GECOM’s handling of previous elections has been criticised by the now Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP). In fact, because of concerns over electoral irregularities, that party filed an elections petition in June of 2015, little over a month after General and Regional Elections had been held.The petition challenges the validity of the outcome of the 2015 General and Regional Elections. Following the outcome of the May 2015 elections, the PPP underscored that the elections were not held in conformity with the Constitution of Guyana.The matter, filed in the name of PPP/C Parliamentarian Ganga Persaud, essentially requests a recount of all ballots cast for the last elections, and calls for fresh elections to be held. Persaud has claimed that the elections were “unlawfully conducted”, and that the results of the elections were affected.Persaud has cited procedural errors and instances of fraudulent and/or suspicious actions during the elections. Unrest, fake statements of poll (SOPs) and multiple voting were among the reasons behind the petition. Further, the presence of “huge mobs” at several polling stations and other strategic places, particularly in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), were also cited by Persaud as other causes for intimidation and fear.The PPP had exceptionally good results from the last LGE in 2016, winning the popular vote and dominating the vote count in rural areas. But this time around, the party has been crying foul over the one-sided manner in which appointments within GECOM are being made in the run up to the elections.While Patterson and the Government commissioners have denied contentions that they skewed hiring practices in favour of one ethnic group, concerns over the ethnic balance within GECOM headquarters have seen the party make complaints to the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC).last_img read more


Serie A: Inter eye return to winning ways, away to Brescia


first_img Tags: BresciaHellas VeronaInter MilanItalian Serie AParma Inter Milan drew 2-2 against Parma in their last game. (PHOTO/Courtesy)Parma vs Hellas VeronaStadio Ennio Tardini, ParmaTuesday, 29-10-2019 @9pmParma managed to hold Inter to a 2-2 draw at San Siro despite an injury crisis and host a Verona side struggling for goals.The Ducali moved Gervinho to centre-forward due to the simultaneous absence of Roberto Inglese and Andreas Cornelius, which allowed Yann Karamoh to get his first start of the season. The winger on loan with option to buy from Inter made a big impact against his old club, scoring one goal and setting up another for Gervinho, so they’re expected to lead the way again with impressive Under-21 international Dejan Kulusevski.Matteo Scozzarella is suspended, with Bruno Alves, Vincent Laurini, Riccardo Gagliolo and Alberto Grassi also sidelined.Hellas Verona’s main issue is that none of their strikers have found the net this season, despite a consistent rotation of the forwards. It also means they failed to score in their last two games, defeats to Napoli and Sassuolo, so it’s clear where coach Ivan Juric has to intervene.Miguel Veloso is still dealing with a muscular problem and is a major loss, as his set pieces alone make a big contribution to the team’s attacks. Salvatore Bocchetti, Daniel Bessa, Giampaolo Pazzini, Boris Radunovic, Lubomir Tupta and Emmanuel Badu also miss out.Teenager Eddie Salcedo and Matteo Pessina are challenging Valerio Verre and Mattia Zaccagni for a role in support of either Mariusz Stepinski or Samuel Di Carmine.Parma have won their last three home games, their best Serie A streak at the Tardini since six consecutive victories in 2012.Brescia vs Inter MilanStadio Mario Rigamonti, BresciaSaturday, 28-09-2019 @11pmInter wasted a golden opportunity to go top of the table and now face a tricky trip to Mario Balotelli’s Brescia.The Nerazzurri could’ve taken back the leadership of Serie A after Juventus were held by Lecce, but instead, they too only scraped a 2-2 draw with Parma and remain one point behind. To make matters worse, Atalanta are gaining momentum and closed the gap to just two points from Antonio Conte’s men.The coach complained bitterly about the injury crisis leaving him with “a squad reduced to the bare bones” and he’ll have to make do again without Stefano Sensi, Matias Vecino, Alexis Sanchez and Danilo D’Ambrosio.Either Lautaro Martinez or Romelu Lukaku must get some rest soon, so Matteo Politano and 17-year-old Sebastiano Esposito are pushing for a place in the starting XI. Kwadwo Asamoah is nursing a knee issue and could again make way for Cristiano Biraghi.Brescia have their own problems to contend with, managing just one point from the last four rounds and are fresh off a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Genoa.Jhon Chancellor limped off with a thigh strain during that game, adding to the growing injury list that already includes Daniele Dessena, Ernesto Torregrossa, Giangiacomo Magnani, Bruno Martella and Luca Tremolada.So much was expected of Balotelli on his return not just to Serie A, but to his hometown club of Brescia, but he is yet to make a genuine impact. There was one goal, but he was practically inconspicuous against Genoa on Sunday evening, except for during his exit, when he kicked a photographer’s camera on the touchline. He has faced his old club Inter five times in Serie A, but never found the net against them.Alfredo Donnarumma has shaken off his injury and should be back in the starting XI with SuperMario, but Nikolas Spalek, Jaromir Zmrhal and the fit-again Emanuele Ndoj are all candidates to be trequartista, now Romulo has returned to midfield.Inter could win their first five away games of the Serie A season, something this club only achieved in 1966-67, 1997-98 and 2012-13.Upcoming fixturesWednesday, 30-10-2019-Napoli vs Atalanta @9pm-Cagliari vs Bologna @11pm-Juventus vs Genoa @11pm-Lazio vs Torino @11pm-Sampdoria vs Lecce @11pm-Sassuolo vs Fiorentina @11pm-Udinese vs Roma @11pmThursday, 31-10-2019          -AC Milan vs SPAL @11pmComments last_img read more