This is affirmed by their apparent hesitancy to pronounce on the readiness of the organisation to execute their constitutional mandate.The administrators at GECOM ought to be ready to address any constitutional requirement in keeping with their functional responsibilities. At the time of writing this; it is a monstrous shame that 41 of the 90 days have passed without a public confirmation as to whether the organisation is ready. This column supports the national call for immediate answers from GECOM.This apparent calculated delay comes during a period when there is a valid List of Voters with an expiry period at the end of April.Given that the organisation successfully executed the Local Government Elections only two months ago, and that its Public Relations Officer had already said that systems were in place to implement Standard Operating Procedures, the return to work and role of Chairman Patterson raises more questions than answers.The current position of stymie, therefore emphasises an extremely disappointing, vulgar, and flagrant bias, which signals a posture of unacceptable convenient prejudice to fuel a crisis environment. In an organisation of autonomy, fairness should prevail, contrary to the obviously demonstrated bigotry. There should be no frivolous excuses by GECOM to delay the performance of its mandate. The organisation was tooled to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the execution of its role. Appropriations of hundreds of millions were already spent in updating GECOM’s Crystal Reporting Database system to enhance necessary responses. It is, however, notable that room for particular areas of ICT improvement still exists, such as the critical fingerprint validation addition.This GECOM ICT system, together with appropriate legislation, supports continuous updates of needed records and required data. In so doing, it provides the institution with a distinct advantage to disseminate information, conduct research, analyse data to inform budgeting and conduct training. It is customised in a manner which positions the organisation to overcome numerous previous challenges and hurdles that were associated with manual systems of the ‘70s and ‘80s when the PNC was allowed to glaringly and notoriously manipulate and infiltrate results.A number of interventions since its implementation, although not foolproof, would have made it increasingly difficult to tamper and manipulate results. Such infiltration by external persons of interests now requires surreptitious internal interplay with administrators within GECOM who have access or are otherwise involved in influencing other employed parties.Protection and preservation of security in this realm remain a matter of strongest concern. The Carter Centre interventions prior to and after 1992, resulted in legislative changes which were aligned to and instructive on neutralising the unfair overwhelming controls the PNC had on the electoral mechanism.Areas of adjustments included the approach to deciding the GECOM Chairman which was given scant regard by President Granger and the system of counting of ballots at the Place of Polls, which give some measure of limited assurance.It, therefore, places for strongest scrutiny, the known controls regarding sealing and transport of ballot boxes to prevent issues like the ‘False Statements of Polls’ finding their way into the tally.The situation is suggestive of internal infiltration and this has to be prevented by the mandatory ICT Sign-Off system of results, and the transparent use of fingerprint validation technology in the future.It is noted that the ICT Sign-Off was not done in 2015 although this is provided for in law, while examination of the ICT fingerprint enhancing approach was indeterminately put on hold by Chairman James Patterson who had refused to meet the United Nations team after they had concluded their analysis.Sincerely,Neil Kumar
…for attempted murderAs prison escapee Stafrei Alexander turned up at the High Court on Thursday for his sentencing — after a jury found him guilty of the attempted murder of Curtis Thom last month — presiding judge Justice Brassington Reynolds announced that the accused would have to undergo another trial.Stafrei AlexanderPrior to deliberations on October 30, it was discovered that one of the jurors was below the age of 18. That juror was duly discharged, and the remaining 11 deliberated and found Alexander guilty by a 9-2 proportion for the March 23, 2015 attempted murder of Curtis Thom. However, Justice Reynolds conceded on Thursday that he had “erroneously” formed the opinion that a verdict of such proportion could be accepted by the court.His new contention was guided by his review of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act, Chapter 10:01, Laws of Guyana. It was observed that a 10-1 verdict would have been acceptable.After the revelations, Alexander’s attorney Stanley Moore, SC, stated that the jury should be discharged, and Prosecutor Tiffini Lyken concurred, further observing that the State shares the opinion that the verdict was improper and/or invalid. Justice Reynolds thereafter discharged the 11 remaining jury members, and ruled that Alexander’s case ended in a hung jury, as the court could not properly receive a 9-2 verdict.Stafrei Alexander is an inmate who had fled lawful custody multiple times, and he was accused of the attempted murder of fellow Laing Avenue, Georgetown resident Curtis Thom by way of discharging a loaded firearm I his direction. Thom was shot hours after his daughter’s christening. The court had heard that based on his beliefs, Thom proceeded to walk into his home backwards after the christening, when Alexander mumbled remarks and pointed a gun at him. Thom was shot twice, and was hospitalised for seven weeks, during which he obtained surgery to correct his injuries.Based on the account of an expert witness, a .38 revolver was the firearm of choice on the night in question, but the prosecution disclosed that the weapon used was not found.Alexander, who is also known as Stafrei Hopkinson Alexander was apprehended in late July after a special operation in Berbice. This came weeks after he had fled the Camp Street Penitentiary during an inferno around the same time when several prisoners, including death row inmate and Bartica mass killer Mark Royden “Smallie” Williams and now dead former Policeman and prisoner Uree Varswyck had fled. Prison officer Odinga Wickham was killed during that ordeal, which flattened the century-old sections of the jail.At the time of his arrest, Alexander was said to have been receiving medical attention for an existing wound. Alexander had previously fled lawful custody for six months before finally being recaptured at Kurupukari Crossing in the Rupununi, Region Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo) in May 2016.