GECOM caseNow that the Court of Appeal has granted an application to expedite the proceedings filed by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in relation to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) chairmanship case, the Attorney representing the Party is hoping that a decision could be made before the Local or General Elections.Anil Nandlall told Guyana Times that the matter was of significant importance, and the issues which the case raises strike at the heart of constitutional democracy and are intricately connected to peace, order and good governance in the country.Attorney-at-Law Anil Nandlall“It is important that the appeal be heard and determined, if not for the Local Government Elections, certainly in time for the national and regional elections…The reason being is that these matters should be conclusively settled in the legal system before those elections are held,” he explained.According to Nandlall, either party may want to take the matter to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) depending on the Court of Appeal’s ruling. He asserted that the appeal at the CCJ would need to be concluded in sufficient time for the 2020 elections to be held with a new chairman if necessary.Nandlall pointed to the scenario in Barbados where a person was prevented from being registered by the Chief Election Officer in that country. He recalled that that case started in January and by May the entire case was finished, from the High Court to the Court of Appeal to the CCJ, in time for the recent elections in Barbados.The Court of Appeal on Friday, July 27 granted an application to expedite the proceedings filed by PPP Executive Secretary Zulfikar Mustapha, who appealed the High Court ruling that upheld President David Granger’s unilateral appointment of Retired Justice James Patterson as Chairman of GECOM.At the first hearing, Mustapha’s legal team, led by Nandlall, had applied for the matter to be expedited given the importance of the case. That application was granted by Acting Chancellor Justice Yonnette Cummings-Edwards, who agreed that the matter was one of “national importance”.However, this was not before the court heard arguments from both parties.Attorney General Basil Williams argued that the hearing of the appeal should be postponed to after the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGE), which were already set, and monies spent for preparations. However, Nandlall, a former Attorney General himself, dismissed those arguments, saying that the Local Government polls could always be rescheduled and pointing out that it was a concern.After hearing the arguments of the two sides, Justice Cummings-Edwards set October 4 as the soonest possible date for hearing the case. During this time, the parties will have to file their submissions with regard to the appeal case and the acting Chancellor urged them “to observe the timelines”.The acting Chancellor in her ruling on the ‘expedite request’ said that “…a hearing of the appeal should be conducted in a relatively short space of time …This is not to say we are not mindful of other matters that are before us, but such matters of national importance have been dealt with before”.Shortly after the hearing, Nandlall told reporters that he was pleased with the court’s decision, since the matter could have been fixed at a much later date. And Williams indicated to media operatives that he would be ready with his submissions, since they would be premised on the same arguments he proffered in court, stating that President Granger properly appointed the GECOM Chair and that acting Chief Justice Roxane George confirmed that appointment in her ruling last month.However, he was adamant that with November 12 already set as the date for the LGE this year, the appeal proceeding would not affect it. However, Nandlall contended that no monies were spent and that it would in no way affect the elections.After rejecting three lists of nominees submitted by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, President Granger went ahead and unilaterally appointed Justice Patterson as Chairman of GECOM. This decision had been, and continues to be, the centre of contention and debate, especially among civil society.In fact, it was as a result of this that the PPP Executive Secretary approached the High Court to challenge the appointment. But on June 8, 2018, acting Chief Justice George had ruled that the Constitution of Guyana allowed for the President to unilaterally appoint someone to fill the position of GECOM Chair. As such, Mustapha earlier this month filed legal proceedings to appeal the High Court decision.
– underscores importance of involvement of all stakeholdersBy Devina SamarooAt a time when tensions are high within the City Council concerning the ongoing parking meter scandal, President David Granger delivered his first address to the Georgetown Council on Monday.While not attributing his remarks to any particular incident, the Head of State urged the Councillors to have a clearer vision and moreDeputy Mayor Sherod Duncan during Monday’s forumprofound mission for the development of the municipality, noting that the involvement of all stakeholders was most vital.He made it clear though that his intention was not to pass any instructions to City Hall on how they should manage their affairs.President Granger reminded the Councillors that they have a duty to represent and serve the people who elected them into office, noting that if they do not perform satisfactorily, they can easily be voted out at the next Local Government Election, which is slated to be held before December 2018.“Each one of you represents at least 2800 citizens: you don’t represent yourself, you don’t represent your family, and you don’t represent your political party. You represent 2800 citizens and you have to listen to them; sometimes you are tempted to speak for yourself, but speak to them first and find out what their views are before you attempt to make public your opinions,” he charged the Councillors.He continued, “If you don’t perform, you are going to get a bad report and people are not going to put you in office if you abuse and misuse that office.”The President emphasised that their return to the table was not dependent on their political affiliations but on their personality andMayor Patricia Chase Greenperformance.Granger also underscored the importance of proper planning before undertaking any projects.In this regard, he urged the Council to consider the establishment of a special commission to deal with these matters.“I ask this Council today to consider – please, note my language because I don’t want to be misreported, I haven’t come here to give instructions – I am asking the Council to consider the possibility of establishing a national capital planning commission,” he stated.This commission, he said, could be tasked with reviewing the numerous plans which have been prepared over the years, and to develop structured approaches to urban renewal.In addition, the President commended the work of the Council, particularly its efforts to prevent massive flooding in the city and for commencing the initiative to beautify the capital.“The city must regain its image as one of the most picturesque and pleasant places for residents and attractive destination for visitors; it must become a showpiece: a place which features attractions and services allow everyone to experience the good life,” he said.A military parade welcomes President David Granger to City HallWith this in mind, President Granger pledged greater assistance from Central Government in helping to push the urban development agenda and to further develop the capital city.
Ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final, the main question concerning team selection is whether Gareth Bale will be fit to feature at the Millennium Stadium.In his home town, the Wales international would love nothing more than to write Real Madrid into the history books in Cardiff, yet Bale is struggling to overcome an ankle injury ahead of the meeting with Juventus. While the player himself has hinted he is not yet fit enough to play in the match, pictures of him in training suggest otherwise and it remains to be seen whether the attacker is merely playing mind games or is genuinely ruled out for the encounter.This time last year, Bale’s absence would have spelt disaster for Real. Los Blancos’ famous BBC – Bale, [Karim] Benzema and Cristiano [Ronaldo] – helped the recently-crowned LaLiga champions to continental success at rivals Atletico Madrid’s expense – winning their 11th European Cup in Milan.Fast forward to the present day, though, and Bale’s potential nonappearance won’t be nearly as big a detriment this time out. Isco has benefitted more so than any other Real player during Bale’s spell on the sidelines, with the Spain international at long last stepping out the shadows to finally shine.Isco netted the crucial goal that killed the semi-final tie with Atletico following Los Colchoneros’ brief renaissance, and it’s his quick train of thought that will be required to pry apart the resolute Juventus backline. The Serie A champions have conceded just three goals en-route to Cardiff and just once from open play; they’re shipping goals at a rate of just one every 360 minutes, which is a monumental show of resolve to say the least.Yet, while Bale’s physical strengths can be nullified with the right approach, it’s easier said than done keeping Isco at bay.The 25-year-old may lack the speed of his Welsh teammate, yet his quick thinking on the ball enables him to play his way through midfields and around defences. Finding space between the lines in the final third is arguably his greatest quality, and against a backline of Juventus’ calibre this space in Real’s attack will be at a premium.He’s been aided in that head coach Zinedine Zidane has adjusted his system accordingly to benefit the Spaniard.Rather than stick with the tried-and-tested 4-3-3 formation that helped the LaLiga side in the past, the French head coach has looked to flex his tactical muscles by deploying a three-man defence and, more recently, a 4-3-1-2 formation, with Isco floating between the lines.This suits Real ahead of Saturday’s final for two reasons.The first is that this brings Cristiano Ronaldo infield to partner Benzema in a two-pronged attack. The France forward’s selflessness and willingness to run the channels takes the pressure off Ronaldo, who is then able to maximise his goalscoring prowess and operate closer to the opposition.Only Lionel Messi (11) has scored more goals than Ronaldo (10) in the Champions League this season. Six of those 10 have been netted when Isco has featured from the off, with Zidane’s decision to start him behind Ronaldo and Benzema profiting the team.Secondly, the 4-3-1-2 means Real have extra numbers in midfield to help stifle opponents.A midfield trio of Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric may be effective, but in a 4-3-3 formation there was often too much space left between the midfield and attack which heaped pressure on the aforementioned threesome. With Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale at times shirking their defensive duties, Zidane could have benefitted from having another body in the middle of the park and that’s where Isco proves his usefulness. He may not be the most physically imposing midfielder, but he still offered 2.6 tackles per 90 in league football last season, and is averaging 1.2 tackles per 90 in the Champions League.Isco’s defensive duties will prove essential on Saturday with Max Allegri expected to select a midfield pairing of Sami Khedira and Miralem Pjanic from the start.It’s of the utmost importance that Real keep the latter at bay if they are to write their name into the history books, as only Dani Alves (2.7) is making more key passes per game of all Juve players than midfield playmaker Pjanic (1.8) in the Champions League this season; if the Bosnian is able to spread play to the wings to maximise Alves’ and Alex Sandro’s marauding runs from deep, Real could be in serious danger of being overrun.Isco’s influence will be vital both defensively and offensively on Saturday evening. In 2017, only Cristiano Ronaldo (28) has been directly involved in more league and Champions League goals than Isco (14) of all Real players, while of the 115 players to score 10 or more goals in Europe’s top five leagues last season, only Max Kruse (36.6%) and Alexandre Lacazette (33.3%) had a better conversion rate than the former Malaga star (31.3%). If Real can get him on the ball as frequently as possible in the space between Juventus’ midfield and defence, he has the quality to create the necessary chances for his teammates as Los Blancos strive to secure a record-setting 12th European Cup.Conversely, if he can keep Pjanic and Khedira occupied in midfield, Juve may struggle to bring their best players into the game, leaving the Serie A giants disjointed in the process.For all of Real Madrid’s star quality, Isco could be their most important player in Cardiff. 1 Will Isco be the man to win Real Madrid their 12th European Cup?