At a time when the country’s elections body is expected to employ more staff for the imminent General and Regional Elections, concerns about its hiring practices still linger as the Ethnic Relations Commission’s investigation at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is yet to be completed.ERC Chairman, Dr John SmithAccording to ERC Chairman, Dr John Smith, while the probe was expected to be wrapped up since last year, this was not done.“We out-sourced the investigators… [But] they needed some more time and I gave them the time… No [I can’t say how long more they need], but the report has to come back to the Commissioners and then we will inform the public,” Dr Smith told Guyana Times on Wednesday.Retired Justice Stanley Moore, who had served as Home Affairs Minister under late President LFS Burnham during the People’s National Congress (PNC) regime, along with former Deputy Commissioner of Police Lloyd Smith and human resources consultant Jairam Petam, was recruited to inquire into claims made by People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) GECOM Commissioners Bibi Shadick, Sase Gunraj and Robeson Benn, that there was an ethnic imbalance at the elections body and hiring practices were being manipulated in favour of one group.The team was supposed to complete the probe in three weeks during October. However, the time was extended as the probe widened and to date, there has been no indication as to when it would be concluded.“I can’t say exactly in terms of timing [when the report will be available]… There is not really [any revised deadline], because they encountered some difficulties and that stalled the whole investigation and getting out the report,” the ERC Chairman stated.When asked about the difficulties that are delaying the investigation, Dr Smith opted not to go into detail, telling this publication that they would be known when the report was completed.Last year, the Elections Commission was embroiled in controversy after it was alleged former Deputy Chief Elections Officer Vishnu Persaud was overlooked for the position because of his ethnicity despite him being the top ranked candidate.The Commission went ahead and hired the second-ranked candidate Roxanne Meyers, after GECOM Chairman, Retired Justice James Patterson broke the deadlock and voted in favour of her.Since then, there have been allegations that candidates applying for posts at GECOM were being rejected and accepted based on their ethnicity and political alignment.After these claims were made, the ERC had scheduled a meeting with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, where the matters were raised. The ERC also met with President David Granger at that time.At a press conference prior to the probe, the GECOM Chairman had said that qualifications ultimately trumped race when filling vacancies. When asked whether deliberate efforts to achieve racial diversity were being made, Patterson had contended that deliberate efforts were being made to get the best people and that he had “no apologies” for that.The ERC is a constitutional body. It works with persons and agencies to promote harmonious ethnic relations. The Commission also deals with complaints, promotes training in racial harmony, and fosters a sense of security, among all ethnic groups.Meanwhile, the PPP/C Commissioners had also registered complaints of Chairman Patterson using his post to muzzle them on the issue of hiring practices. During a statutory meeting, Commissioner Benn had highlighted issues regarding the ethnic composition of the workforce at the GECOM Secretariat, having pointed out that the perception was that the vast majority of the staff of the Commission were persons of one ethnicity.The PPP/C Commissioners had said that the Chairman prevented Benn from further defending his position and when challenged, adjourned the meeting for over half an hour.Their allegations followed by an earlier statement by executive member of the PPP, Dr Roger Luncheon who made allegations against GECOM on the same issue.
Liverpool haven’t been crowned champions of England since 1989/90 and finished 25 points behind City last season.But after reaching the Champions League final in May and spending more than anyone else in the Premier League in the off-season, there is palpable belief that wait will come to an end in May.“We know about our expectations and noticed the very positive atmosphere around us in the whole pre-season,” said Klopp.“It’s good people are positive, but the season again will be unbelievably hard.”Klopp has tried to keep a lid on expectations given the gap to City last season despite spending a reported £170 million.“We cannot be anything different than the challenger because we have not won anything since I’ve been in (charge), a long time. We have to invest more, fight more,” he added.“West Ham will play a good season but they are not the (Manchester) Uniteds or (Manchester) Citys. We have to be ready week in, week out for the different challenges.”– Salah starts over –Happy Mane: Senegal’s Sadio Mane scored twice against West Ham © AFP / Oli SCARFFThere was little tinkering for Klopp to do up front after Salah, Mane and Roberto Firmino combined for 91 goals last season, and they again provided the firepower to outclass a sorry West Ham despite their own near £100 million outlay on nine new players.Salah and Mane’s pain at international level was Liverpool’s gain as early exits at the World Cup with Egypt and Senegal meant they could join the club’s pre-season tour of the United States, unlike a host of Premier League stars who returned to training just last week after their exertions in Russia.A revelation in his first season at Anfield with 44 goals in all competitions, Salah is now a marked man.Yet, he was given the simplest of tasks to tap home the opener into an empty net on 19 minutes from Andy Robertson’s pinpoint cross after he was freed down the left by the impressive Keita.Salah should have had more as he was well picked out by a bursting run by Firmino only to place his shot too close to Lukasz Fabianski, who also made a brilliant save to turn Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick behind.Fabianski was by far the busier ‘keeper with Alisson making just one comfortable save and impressing far more with his feet to launch a series of Liverpool attacks.The hosts finally doubled their lead to give the score the half-time reflection it deserved when another teasing Robertson cross was pulled across goal by James Milner and Mane left unmarked to side-foot home.Mane produced a fine finish for his second eight minutes after the break after good work by Firmino, but had the linesman to thank just as much for the assist as he somehow wasn’t flagged offside before firing past Fabianski.Former City and Real Madrid boss Manuel Pellegrini is used to competing at the top of the table.Yet, despite the vast investment in the East Londoners, on this evidence Pellegrini will do well to better West Ham’s 13th-placed finish last season as the visitors were happy to limit the damage after the break.“Every time that you bring so many players it is difficult. We are just starting the season, but we need to analyse this game,” said Pellegrini. “We are clear and sure that we need to improve.”Sturridge inflicted the final blow two minutes from time with his first touch after replacing Salah.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Up and running: Mohamed Salah celebrates his first goal of the season © AFP / Oli SCARFFLIVERPOOL, United Kingdom, Aug 12 – Jurgen Klopp warned much tougher challenges lie ahead of Liverpool’s quest to end a near three-decade wait to win the Premier League after brushing aside West Ham 4-0 at a jubilant Anfield on Sunday.Mohamed Salah opened his account for the season, Sadio Mane scored twice and Daniel Sturridge added a late fourth in an impressive display by Klopp’s men as £65 million ($83 million) goalkeeper Alisson Becker kept a clean sheet on debut.