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first_imgDear Editor,I am convinced that the PNC has not changed from historically being a party that is innately and inherently authoritarian and undemocratic; and, if allowed, will rig every election in this country, as it has done from 1968 to 1985. The unilateral appointment of retired Justice James Patterson absolutely vindicates what I have said repeatedly over the last two and a half years: that we are on a road to political dictatorship and authoritarianism.The President did not see it fit to even consult with his coalition partners in Government on this fundamental appointment. Both the AFC and WPA have so confirmed in public statements. It is difficult to conceive of a clearer exhibition of dictatorship than this. At least the WPA’s reaction was critical. The response of the AFC will have to be the subject of an entire article.I have said from the inception that President Granger would eventually choose a person of his own liking, irrespective of the provisions of the Constitution. A year thereafter, that is exactly what he has done. In the process, he has led this nation along a deceptive and agonising path of public debates on constitutional interpretations; public consultations that produced 18 outstanding Guyanese, all of whom were eventually rejected, and a ruling from the constitutional court – all of which made no difference in the end. Instead of using the ruling as a guide, the President craftily used selective parts of it to justify his perverse appointment.The President, from the inception, misinterpreted Article 161 (2) of the Constitution by contending that it qualifies for the position of GECOM Chairman only a judge, a former judge, or a person qualified to be a judge. When this interpretation was met with public condemnation, only then did the President concede that that provision of the Constitution also caters for “any other fit and proper person”.Even when he recognised that the Constitution spoke to the latter category, the President and his Attorney General injected another nonsensical slant to their interpretation by arguing that the Constitution expresses a preference for the judicial category.Proviso has no applicabilityThese infantile interpretations to the clear language of the Constitution were all put to rest by the Chief Justice’s ruling. Now the President has misinterpreted the other part of Article 161 (2); that is, the proviso.When one examines the intention of the framers of the Constitution, which was to create a bi-partisan mechanism to produce a chairman of GECOM, no rational mind would be unclear when the proviso can be activated. It can be activated only when no list has been submitted by the Leader of the Opposition. Once a list has been submitted, this proviso has no applicability. Any other interpretation would make a mockery of the letter and, moreover, the spirit of the Constitution, because every President would then be free to reject a list submitted to him by the Leader of the Opposition and appoint a person of his own choice, rendering the very constitutional provision otiose, superfluous and nugatory.President Carter and those who coined the Carter Formula were not that naïve.Great moment is being made by those who wish to defend the travesty committed by the President by arguing that the words “a list as is provided for” in the proviso means a list submitted by the Leader of the Opposition which finds the acceptability of the President. I reject this argument as misconceived. The article, when read, literally cannot mean that; but more importantly, the literal words of the article cannot be read in isolation from the spirit and intention of those who crafted it.Let us examine what responsibility the Article imposes on the Leader of the Opposition and the President respectively. I submit that a duty is placed on the Leader of the Opposition to submit to the President a list of six names which in the opinion of the Leader of the Opposition are not unacceptable to the President, from which the President is empowered to choose one. Since the Leader of the Opposition is not endowed with clairvoyant powers or an ability to read the President’s mind, the framers of the Constitution could not have expected, and do not expect, him to know which names the President would find not unacceptable. Therefore, the responsibility is on the Leader of the Opposition to select six names that, in his opinion, the President would find not unacceptable. The Leader of the Opposition submitted not 6, but 18 such names to the President.To his credit, the Leader of the Opposition did not confine the 18 names submitted to his subjective judgement; he engaged several major organisations in this country in a consultative process which produced those names.The Golden RuleSimultaneously, when the Constitution vests in the President a power or a discretion to determine whether the names are not unacceptable, the framers of the Constitution expect, and the law mandates, that power and discretion to be exercised rationally and reasonably, and not capriciously and whimsically; but in a manner that a responsible President would do in the circumstances. To enable him space to exercise that power, the Constitution was fair enough to give him six choices. In this particular instance, he had 18 choices.If any doubt or ambiguity arises in interpreting the literal language of the constitutional provision, then the established cannons of construction mandate that the golden rule be employed in the interpretative process. This golden rule requires the interpreter to decipher the intention of the framers of the Article. This takes us straight back to the Carter Price/ Formula, where the intention was to dispense with the unilateral appointment of a chairman of the Elections Commission and to establish an elections commission whose membership evenly reflects both the Opposition and the Government, with a Chairman produced by a process involving both the Leader of the Opposition and the President.Out of this intention came GECOM comprising six Commissioners, three representing the Government and three representing the Opposition, and a Chairman who is empowered with the authority of a casting vote to break gridlock, and who is to be appointed from a list of six names emanating from the Leader of the Opposition, from which the President is obliged to select one. Therefore the President was never intended to have a unilateral power of appointment. His power of appointment is circumscribed to that list of six names submitted to him by the Leader of the Opposition. It is only in the rare and exceptional circumstance where there is no list submitted then the President can make a unilateral appointment.I must emphasize that it was never expected that the President must find the names acceptable. After all, the names are coming from his political opponent. That is why the framers of the Constitution, rather than use the word “acceptable”, they used the double-negative: “not unacceptable”. Therefore, the names submitted are not necessarily to be acceptable to the President; they must be “not unacceptable”. The term “not unacceptable” does not mean “acceptable”.I say all of this to illustrate the length at which the framers of the Constitution travelled to ensure there is a Chairman produced through a bilateral process, and to eschew a unilateral appointment, except in that rare and exceptional circumstance when there is no list provided.Therefore, a unilateral appointment would lead to the destruction of that vital balance at GECOM which the framers of Article 161 intended to create.The perversity of the decision to act unilaterally is compounded by the fact that the President has not given a single reason for rejecting 18 accomplished, professionally qualified and respected Guyanese. Legal arguments aside, the President led this country to believe, by several public statements, including a joint statement with the Opposition, that he would not act unilaterally, but would, to the very end, pursue a collaborative course on this issue. So, on that note, the President has simply deceived the nation.If anyone was in doubt about the President’s bona fides in this matter, those doubts would have immediately dissipated by the choice the President made in the form of retired Justice Patterson.I had the privilege of attending almost every meeting between the Leader of the Opposition and the President on this matter. At one point in time, the Leader of the Opposition had asked the President for some guidance on the criteria he would find acceptable after the first six names were rejected. I remember the President saying that the person must possess the three ‘Is’ that is, they must be “independent”, must have “integrity”, and must be “impartial”. I say with the greatest of respect that Justice Patterson does not satisfy these requirements.In his resume, Justice Patterson states that he was the Chief Justice of Grenada in 1987. I have spoken to several retired judges and lawyers from Grenada and in the Eastern Caribbean jurisdictions, but no one can confirm that Justice Patterson was appointed Chief Justice of Grenada.I have consulted a book which chronicles all the important post holders of Grenada annually, and the Chief Justice of Grenada in 1987 is listed as Sir Samuel Horatio Graham. I have received information that a Guyanese who worked for over 25 years in Grenada in a very high public office has advised the President that Justice Patterson was never appointed Chief Justice in Grenada, yet the President cites Justice Patterson’s alleged appointment as Chief Justice of Grenada as the basis of appointing him.In a list of criteria submitted by the President to the Opposition Leader, the President indicated that the candidate whom he is looking for must not be a religious activist or leader. As a result, the Opposition Leader deliberately omitted to include any religious leader in the names which he submitted to the President. In his CV, Justice Patterson described himself as a reverend, and an entire page in that CV is dedicated to listing the several theological qualifications which he possesses and religious posts which he held.In that list of criteria, the President stated that the candidate should not have “any political affiliation, and should not belong to any political party in any form, apparent or hidden”; and that the person should have a general character of honesty and integrity.Justice Patterson can by no objective standard be adjudged impartial or independent, or not connected to the People’s National Congress. Indeed, the evidence available links him intricately to this Government and to the PNC. He has been appointed as an Adviser to the Attorney General, a post for which he is being remunerated; so he is an employee of the Government. He has been appointed by the President to head a Commission of Inquiry into the Georgetown Prison break in July 2016. He has been appointed by the President to the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy; so he is an Adviser to the President. He has been appointed by the President to a committee to review applications for the position of Chief Justice and Chancellor of the Judiciary.Even more damaging, he was a pallbearer at former President Desmond Hoyte’s funeral. This was not the State funeral, but a private event for Party leaders and supporters held at Merriman’s Funeral Parlour. The other pallbearers at that event were all PNC leaders, members and supporters. This information can be found on the PNC website. I have photographs in the event that they now wish to remove them. Justice Patterson is also a member of the Facebook page calling itself ‘Rally around the People’s National Congress’, established just before the 2015 General Elections.How can the Guyanese electorate have any confidence in this person’s independence, impartiality and integrity? One cannot discount the fact, also, that the Government has asked Justice Cecil Kennard to resign as Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority and Justice Prem Persaud to resign from the Public Utilities Commission and the Judicial Service Commission. Their ages are 80 and 76 respectively. The President is reported in the press as saying that they were requested to resign because of their age. Mr Patterson is 84 years old, yet the President appointed him.The appointment simply cannot be allowed to stand.Mohabir Anil Nandlall, MPAttorney-at-Lawlast_img read more

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first_imgA third suspect has now joined an Alliance For Change Councillor and her father for the beating to death of a 22-year-old fisherman who was accused of attempting to snatch the bag of the regional Councillor.Shereffudeen Nazamudeen, called “Sheriff’, of Lot 117 Ruby, East BankDead:Shereffudeen NazamudeenEssequibo (EBE), was tied and beaten to death on Tuesday at Hope, EBE.Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum told Guyana Times the third suspect was arrested on Wednesday after detectives revisited the area to conduct further investigations. He noted that while charges are expected to be instituted, the Police are continuing their investigations.It was reported that the young lady was cornered by the now dead man who snatched her bag and attempted to escape. However, the woman raised an alarm and residents went in hot pursuit of him.He was caught in the ruins of a house that was set alight just last year, resulting in the deaths of an elderly couple. He was reported beaten by the Councillor and her father along with other persons in the area.Following the beating, the man suffered severe injuries about his body and was taken to the Leonora Cottage Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. Three pieces of wood, suspected to have been used in the fatal beating, were recovered from the scene.The Councillor and her father were arrested on Tuesday and are cooperating with the Police.last_img read more

first_imgBy 25 or 50 cents per drink? That seems unlikely. Though quite possibly the tax increase might have the unintended consequence of driving less flush teen drinkers to choose the more dangerous – but supercheap – rotgut liquors over hard lemonade or Zima. Teen drinking is a problem influenced by access and popular culture that isn’t going to be fixed by a modest price increase, no matter what their research from similar tax increases in Europe says. If authorities truly wanted to stop the consumption of fruity alcohol drinks, they would consider a $20 tax. But that would never happen because the ugly truth is that tax increases on socially unacceptable products are almost always structured to increase revenue, not to reduce use. This is a dishonest tax and not a serious attempt at stopping teen drinking. What’s worse, since this isn’t technically a tax increase but just a reclassification of a product into a higher tax bracket, it doesn’t have to go through usual vote of the public.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The proposed tax increase on sweet and fruity alcoholic beverages is being packaged as a way to curb teen drinking. But what it really is is a sneaky way for the state to increase its revenue by purporting to attack a social ill. The fruity alcohol drinks, also known as “alcopops,” are thought (by adults) to be popular with the younger set since they are more like juice and soda than the spirits adults imbibe. As such, state officials are proposing to reclassify the drinks as hard alcohol instead of falling into the same category as beer. Imposing a higher tax rate supposedly will reduce consumption of the sweet drinks by, as state Controller John Chiang said, pricing “the product out of their reach.” last_img read more

first_imgVALENCIA – A San Fernando Valley-based Christian school is negotiating to buy Valencia’s Legacy Academy with the ultimate goal of jointly establishing a new Christian high school in the Santa Clarita Valley. A deal now being negotiated calls for the nonprofit Village Christian Schools to pay about $9 million for Legacy, a for-profit religious grade school that opened in 2002, Superintendent Ronald Sipus said Friday. Legacy Superintendent Timothy Borruel and his wife, Donna Borruel, director of curriculum, founded the Valencia school as an extension of their Sunshine day-care program. “We’re nearing an agreement,” Timothy Borruel said. “My heart wants me to do it, but right now I’m trying to make it make sense financially.” His concern, he said, is that changes don’t negatively affect his staff. The two have talked for years about partnering to build an “excellent premier” Christian high school in the Santa Clarita Valley, Sipus said. The purchase by the nonprofit organization was the most efficient way to partner and expand. Immediate plans call for adding seventh and eight grades to Legacy over the next two years, a $2 million project that includes adding a second story to the existing building. 661-257-5251 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

first_imgHo hum, Monday was just another day at the office. Not! I found myself having lunch at Chateau Marmont, sitting at the same table as Jean Smart, Kathy Griffin, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Sharon Lawrence and Sally Kellerman, among others. OK, it was a really long table. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champStill, I was the only man at this luncheon to celebrate the More (magazine) Women In Film contest for screenwriters over 40. I’ll write more about the event later this week. I want to first share with you my conversation with the sublime Jean Smart about ABC’s new hit comedy “Samantha Who?” She plays the mother of Christina Applegate, the title character who suffers from amnesia and is forced to find out who she really is. “I’m having a blast,” Jean said. “It’s kind of like a disgusting love fest, we all fell in love with each other in the first week. I know actors always say the right thing, `Oh, the writing’s wonderful and the cast is wonderful.’ But it really is.” I have been a big fan of hers since her days as Charlene on “Designing Women.” She went on to win two Emmys for “Frasier” and was nominated twice more for her role as first lady Martha Logan on “24.” So with the role of Regina on “Samantha,” Jean is adding to a collection of already memorable roles. “When I read the pilot script and she’s videotaping herself so she can be on ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ because of her sob story about her daughter. She makes her daughter open her eyes again when she comes out of the coma after eight days because she missed (the shot). I said, `I have to play this person.”‘ Regina also doesn’t bother to tell Samantha that they haven’t been speaking to one another for the past two years. “She’s starting all over again,” she says. “She’s been reading the mother’s manual and is trying to do it by the book and treats her daughter like she’s 12 years old.” The last original episode of “Samantha” for 2007 airs next Monday night. Clooney says some misusing their fame George Clooney has said there’s a responsibility that comes with celebrity since famous folks have the resources to look out and advocate for other people. He doesn’t name names, but it’s pretty clear he does not think highly of Britney Spears and her use of fame. “What should you do with all this kind of attention?” Clooney said in an interview with USA Today. “Should you get out of a car without wearing underwear?” For more celebrity news, go to and local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

first_imgFurthermore, which of the health police is going to decide which fast-food places will be allowed permits to build, and which will be on the “banned” list? They say there aren’t enough markets or “wholesome” restaurants in South Los Angeles, then the council should get together with banks, churches and local business people to encourage investment in grocery stores and family restaurants. If council members thought about it logically – something not required in their job descriptions – they’d realize that keeping the number of fast-food establishments at their current level means that those restaurants will get more business as the population increases. The only thing that should determine what restaurants – or any business for that matter – occupy any area of the city is the law of capitalism. If they build it and people don’t come, they’ll be out of business soon enough. This is not just a matter for South L.A. If city officials can consider a policy like this for one area of the city, why not expand their healthier-than-thou bans to other parts of the city? How would we react if Valley Councilmen Dennis Zine, Greig Smith, Tony C rdenas, Jack Weiss or Tom LaBonge got it into their heads that Vals are too fat, or didn’t go to the gym often enough? What if they were to draft legislation mandating no more fast-food restaurants be built in the San Fernando Valley, but a gym must be built on every third corner along Ventura and Reseda boulevards? I don’t think we’d react too kindly. We’d flood their offices with e-mails and phone calls telling them how they’ve insulted our intelligence, not to mention our physiques. If I were a resident of South L.A., after telling members of the City Council about how and where I eat is none of their business, I’d be screaming, “Why just us? Why not the entire city? We’re perfectly capable of looking in the bathroom mirror and deciding if we’re too fat or not.” Have any Valley council members or the council as a whole walked through Valley or city malls lately? Both have a ton of fat people who may or may not be at risk for diabetes, heart attacks or strokes, depending on which study you read. So watch out, if they can do it to South Los Angeles, they can do it to you or to us. While council members are searching out the malls for fat people, and we’re looking in the mirror ourselves, they’d be well advised to look at their own reflections before they interfere with ours. Sandy Sand is a resident of West Hills, a freelance writer and former editor of the Tolucan. Write to her by e-mail at local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! THE health police are at it again. Banning further building of fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles, as proposed by Councilwoman Jan Perry, is not the answer to solving the problem of obesity and diabetes for the people who live there or anywhere in the city. The answer lies in a far slower, more deliberate process: One of education and universal health care. That won’t be easy. Part of that education requires a change in lifestyle. It means learning how to balance meals, and doing a lot of grocery shopping, cooking and eating in, things many people – not just residents of South L.A. – don’t have time for. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonThat aside, where does the City Council get off telling anyone what kinds of restaurants they can patronize or what kind of restaurants can be built? Don’t council members have anything better to do with their time? It’s obvious that no gangs roam the streets; the crime rate has dropped to zero percent; every homeless person has found a home; there are no traffic jams; every student gets straight A’s. Ooops. The school aren’t under the council’s purview, but if they were, it would be A’s all ’round. If the council is really so worried about the health of L.A.’s residents, it wouldn’t be futzing around with we-know-better-than-you laws, it would be pushing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state representatives to get us universal health care. Council members would be urging their own Department of Health to get a public-service ad campaign going to educate people that fast-food is a once-a-week treat, and advise them of easy, healthful alternatives. South L.A. might have more fast-food restaurants per capita than any other area of the city, but that does not translate to a need for a moratorium on building more. last_img read more

first_imgLOS ANGELES (AP) – Angelina Jolie is expecting a baby this summer with Brad Pitt, finally affirming the long-presumed relationship previously only glimpsed on African beaches and in paparazzi snapshots. Pitt’s publicist, Cindy Guagenti, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Jolie is pregnant and that Pitt is the father, confirming People magazine’s earlier report. “Yes, I’m pregnant,” the magazine quoted Jolie as telling a charity aid worker Monday in the Dominican Republic, where she is filming “The Good Shepherd” with Matt Damon. The news comes one month after papers were filed to make Pitt the adoptive father of Jolie’s two children. Jolie sought to change the names of the children to Zahara Jolie-Pitt and Maddox Jolie-Pitt. Pitt accompanied Jolie to Ethiopia in July to pick up Zahara, now 1. Jolie’s adopted son, now 4, is from Cambodia. Jolie’s father, Jon Voight, was reached Wednesday morning for his reaction by entertainment TV show “Access Hollywood.” The Oscar-winning star of 1978’s “Coming Home” said he had not spoken to Jolie, but said, “Angie is my daughter and I am always wishing the best for her.” Previously, Jolie, 30, and Pitt, 42, had not publicly acknowledged their relationship despite increasingly frequent sightings of the couple. They had been spotted together across the globe: in Canadian shopping malls (near Pitt’s movie set for “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”), vacationing on African beaches and, most recently, in Pakistan. In November, Pitt and Jolie, a goodwill ambassador for the U.N., toured quake-devastated areas in Pakistan. Jolie also met with Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Jolie, whose films include “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” and “Alexander,” is divorced from actors Billy Bob Thornton and Jonny Lee Miller. Pitt, the star of films including “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Troy,” had no children from his four-year marriage to Jennifer Aniston, which ended in divorce last October. The couple cited irreconcilable differences. Pitt has denied Jolie was behind the split. Pitt and Jolie also starred together in “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” last year. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

first_img REVEALED 2 Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won ADVICE REVEALED Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars shining Kroos has won three Champions League titles at Madrid Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? Real Madrid will reportedly consider selling Toni Kroos in the summer to free up space on their wage bill to make signings in the summer.Kroos has been in poor form for the Spanish giants this season in a disappointing campaign. Madrid would not let him leave on the cheap, though, and will be looking for a sizeable transfer fee.Manchester United tried to lure Kroos to Old Trafford last summer and should he become available a number of top European clubs would be interested. REPLY Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card 2 BEST OF Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move Real Madrid have a sizeable wage bill and they could free up space to sign players in the summer as they look to overhaul their squad.Crashing out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage and are 13 points behind Barcelona in La Liga.Zidane is reportedly keen on bringing in Paul Pogba and Christian Eriksen to the club. LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS huge blow Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’ Toni Kroos signed for Madrid in 2014 The 29-year-old signed for Madrid in July 2014 and has gone on to win three consecutive Champions League titles and one LaLiga trophy.AS report that they may be prepared to off-load Kroos in the summer as they look to rebuild their side for Zinedine Zidane. no dice last_img read more

first_imgHearts coach Austin MacPhee has revealed that he was shocked to see Craig Levein removed from his position at Tynecastle and says the players feel guilt over the outcome.Levein lost his job as manager and director of football after a run that saw Hearts win just once in 11 league games. Defeat to St Johnstone on Wednesday was the final straw and the manager was removed ahead of this weekend’s League Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden. Asked for his reaction, MacPhee said: “Shock, to be honest. “The timing of it, even in the media people saw the semi-final as a crucial game if we hadn’t won in midweek.” The coach has been placed in interim charge and will lead from the dugout at Hampden. He said that the squad were aware that their performances were part of the reason for the change and that they now needed to give some positivity to the fans.“I think in any situation like this the first thing the players feel is guilt,” he said. “All of us do. “It’s the byproduct of everybody in the organisation not performing at the levels they should be. “That was articulated this morning and, for the supporters, we now need to turn that into something positive and make sure the team put in a performance that shows what the players who are available are capable of.””last_img read more