Dear Editor,Elections are due within eight weeks as per the order of the Caribbean Court of Justice. But to have an election, a Chairman of GECOM is required. The position has been vacant for a month now. The position must be urgently filled. A compromise is needed from the President and Leader of the Opposition to resolve the two related issues so that credible elections are held within the shortest time without violating the Constitution.A Chairman should have been appointed days ago but the two sides, PNC (the dominant party leading the coalition) and PPP (official Opposition), can’t agree on six nominees for the President to choose one as Chair. Clearly, both sides want someone each side feels will help it in the elections – give it an edge or place it in an advantageous position to win the elections. A compromise is needed on this issue as well as on the date for elections.On the issue of GECOM Chair, a potential solution is for both sides to agree to someone (a non-Guyanese perhaps if necessary) appointed by the UN or Commonwealth or Caricom after consultation with the leadership of both parties. Or perhaps both sides can agree to ask the Court to appoint someone to head GECOM. Neither side will have an advantage by having a non-Guyanese run the affairs of GECOM through the next elections.On the date for an election, GECOM says it can’t hold an election without conducting House-to-House Registration to update a voters’ list. This process will take up to a year, if not longer. This will violate the Constitution and defy the ruling of the Court that validated the No-Confidence Motion on June 18, triggering an election within three months. The PNC wants a delayed election, believing it will give it an advantage while the PPP wants election before September 18, confident it will win. Neither side can be guaranteed a victory now or later. The later the election is held, the greater the advantage of the minor parties to make inroads into the base of support of the two major parties. Division within the PPP gives the coalition an advantage going into an election held now.A compromise is needed on the date of elections and proposed House-to-House Registration to remove the potential of an advantage for either side. Some kind of a registration procedure is needed to guarantee that all eligible voters (18 and above) are on the voters’ list and this must be done within days so as not to violate the constitutional date for elections as ordered by the Court. How about the President and the Leader of the Opposition agreeing for the Court to manage the elections? Other societies used the Court to manage elections when there were doubts about the process and date. If the Court manages the elections, neither side will enjoy an advantage and/or make credible claims of fraud.Yours truly,Dr Vishnu Bisram
…aims to tackle fatherless homesBy Rennella BourneIn efforts to combat the high number of fatherless homes, the Leo Club of Georgetown in collaboration with the Men’s Affairs Bureau of the Social Protection Ministry launched the “U turn” project on Saturday (yesterday).A section of the gathering at the launch of the “U Turn” projectThe project launched at St Stanislaus College, is aimed at equipping men between the ages of 17 and 27, with skills, knowledge and resources to become better fathers to their children and better men in their communities.The newly-elected president of the Leo Club of Georgetown, Reedel James, told those gathered that he is pleased they have an interest in the topic because in society many are accustomed to living in homes dominated by women, and grandparents playing the role of absent fathers.U-Turn is a pilot project that is attempting to focus on three main areas where they believe young men that are fathers can better equip themselves for parenthood using three pillars which are to: be present, be a provider, and be a father.Phase one of the project commenced on Saturday with life skills training addressing social, psychological and attitudinal factors associated with the use of legal and illegal substances.Phase One also provides knowledge that will enhance the development of basic skills, personal competence, educational and job skills.Speaking to this publication James noted that he wanted the club to do something that was more voluntarism.“I came up with the idea of U-turn, along with the help of my colleagues, and after it was discussed we began planning.”James further added that the project is not tackling any specific community. He said the project is catering for as many men who are willing to participate in the three sessions of the project.Phases two and three will be held at the National Library which will be delving into Family Law and parenting skills in the upcoming Saturdays.