Philip Feanny has reaffirmed his confidence in female apprentice Mellisa Ward by rewarding her with a second ride aboard ever-improving MARVELLOUS MARVA in this afternoon’s Owen Silvera Memorial at a mile, following her Labour Day victory with the five-year-old mare in the Mark My Word Trophy. Ward scored a narrow all-the-way victory, beating HOVER CRAFT by a head, but now faces a 15lb weight swing in a rematch with champion trainer Wayne DaCosta’s runner. HOVER CRAFT will carry 110lb this afternoon, down from 125lb on Labour Day, whereas MARVELLOUS MARVA returns with 119lb, the exact weight she had in her plucky victory with Ward. DaCosta has four in-form runners in the six-horse field – HOVER CRAFT, RADICAL, UNCLE FRANK, and SUPERTRONICS – recent winners, who are all in receipt of weight from MARVELLOUS MARVA. However, whereas MARVELLOUS MARVA is going for a fourth open-allowance victory, only HOVER CRAFT, from DaCosta’s quartet, has ever won at the level. Despite giving weight all around, MARVELLOUS MARVA’s rapid improvement as a four-year-old, at the back end of last season, still makes her the horse to beat. After winning the Mark My Word, Feanny’s runner faced grade one horses a week ago, the Viceroy Trophy, and was only beaten four and a quarter lengths by HOUDINI’S MAGIC fast 1:50.4 at nine furlongs. Always prominent throughout, MARVELLOUS MARVA sat in splits of 1:10.3 for six furlongs and 1:35.4 for a mile, a pace that ran two of the best horses in the country, WILL IN CHARGE AND BIGDADDYKOOL, totally off their legs. Meanwhile, BIMINI the third-longest shot on the board, yesterday stunned rivals at 14-1 in the five-furlong round overnight allowance sprint, pouncing on the trio of SIR BUDGET, POLLY B, and TALENTED TONY K, who engaged in a breakneck speed duel down the backstretch and into the lane. Sitting fourth in the catbird seat along the rail, BIMINI hit top stride in the stretch run with apprentice Odeen Edwards and came forward strongly to hit the front a furlong out. CRUCIAL APPEAL ran on inside the final half-furlong to chase home BIMINI, who clocked 1:00.3 for the distance, refitted with the blinkers in which she had made a brave bid at odds of 9-1, going five and a half furlongs but caught and beaten into fifth place by WONG DON a month ago.
On the eve of the 50th Anniversary of our achievement of Independence from Britain, it is somewhat serendipitous that a Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) was established “to inquire into, report on and make recommendations on the role, functions, recruitment process, remuneration, conditions and other matters pertaining to the personnel employed in the Guyana Public Service.”The members of the Commission were Professor Harold Lutchman, who had written a history of the Civil Service, Sandra Jones a management consultant, and Samuel Goolsarran a member of the Consultative Association of Guyanese Industry.The CoI began hearings last September and submitted its report to the Ministry of the Presidency last week. The serendipity arises because of the eve of independence there was also an investigation into the Public Service.During the tumultuous years of civil riots and unrest preceding independence, the PPP had consistently called for the British to conduct an enquiry into the ethnic imbalances in the police and Volunteer Forces, but these were brushed aside by the PNC after they acceded to power.However, the British insisted and Burnham finally agreed to an investigation by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) to investigate the PPP’s claim. The PNC-UF government however, unilaterally expanded the CoI’s terms of reference to include the civil service, government agencies, the allocation of lands on land development schemes, and other areas of government responsibility.With specific reference to the Civil Service, the ICJ commission which took submissions in 1965, was instructed “to consider existing procedures relating to the selection, appointment, promotion, dismissal and conditions of service of personnel are such as to encourage or lead to racial discrimination in the areas concerned; to make such recommendations as are considered necessary to correct any such procedures with a view to the elimination of imbalance based on racial discrimination having regard to the need to maintain the efficiency of the services concerned and the public interest.”Interestingly enough, the PPP was incensed by the PNC’s including the composition of the Civil Service , which even though also racially imbalanced, was not felt to be as strategically important as the police and armed forces in the maintenance of political power. By this time the British had formed the nucleus of a future army for the country – the Special Services Unit (SSU) equally balanced between African and Indian Guyanese. The British Governor had no problem with recruiting the requisite number of Indians. The PPP, however, boycotted the sittings of the ICJ’s hearings.The ICJ highlighted Indian sentiment on their desire to enter the Civil Service which was seen as the epitome of “success” in the society at large, since it positioned citizens closest to the occupants of power positions. Their Report stated: “It may be said that the existence of a “racial problem” in British Guiana came to be noticed as a political factor about the year 1950. By then some Africans had begun to fear that if the Indian economic and social progress continued it would menace the advancement they had made. The Indians, on the other hand, felt that their newly-found desire to enter public services, such as the Civil Service and the police, was being thwarted by the fact that the Africans were already predominant in those services and that the conditions of entry were restrictive or discriminatory. These fears have to be viewed against the background of an economy which was not sufficiently buoyant or expansionist to allay fears of economic insecurity.”In the waning days of the Jagdeo administration there were charges made via a private court action that the PPP had “discriminated” against African Guyanese in the Public Service, and these charges figured prominently during the last elections campaign. It is hoped the present CoI has touched on this matter of “racial/ethnic imbalances” in the Public Services, much as the Disciplined Forces Commission in 2004 echoed the ICJ in their recommendations on “balancing” the Armed Forces.
The commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the abolition Indian indentureship kicked off last Thursday with a dinner hosted by the High Commissioner of India and a gala event at the National Culture Centre the following evening. As the vaunted “land of six peoples”, Guyana should consider itself fortunate by its diversity but at the same time, it has to continuously engage in self-reflection to ensure the peoples see themselves as part of one Guyanese mosaic. The Indian indentureship abolition event provides one such opportunity.Modern Guyana was built on the fateful decision of European colonisers not to exploit the labour of the native Indigenous peoples to provide labour on their plantations which provided their home countries with tropical produce. African slaves were introduced from the beginning in the early seventeenth century by the Dutch and in 1834 when slavery was abolished by the British, which then “owned” British Guiana, over 80,000 slaves were liberated.The English abolitionists had supported the suggestion by Adam Smith that “free labour” would be more efficient that slave labour on the plantations. The planters, however, were convinced the freed Africans would not be as reliable as was demanded by the exigencies of sugar production. Compounding their claim was their knowledge that with the imminent removal of preferential sugar tariffs in Britain, their profits would plummet and wages would have to shrink, which would be unacceptable to the freed slaves.The planters turned instead to indentured labour, which ironically, had been the first choice of European colonists when they brought their own poor to the other islands in the 17th century. Under indentured labour contracts, the passage of the labourer was paid for by the employer but he had to work for a specified period under stipulated conditions. These were very harsh and had criminal sanctions. At the end of the period he was now free and given a sum of money, or more frequently, a plot of land that formed the foundation of his independent livelihood.After introducing Portuguese and a smattering of other Europeans indentures, India provided the bulk of the indentured labourers, with substantial numbers of freed Africans introduced from other Caribbean Islands and Africa. During indentureship, the Portuguese and Chinese immediately moved off the plantations, which were then serviced by skilled Africans in the factories and Indians in the fields. To augment their increasingly meagre wages, the Indians exchanged their contracted right of return passage to India for small plots of land on which they planted rice and cash crops. They also reared cattle which then offered livelihoods off the plantation.The end of Indian indentureship was resisted by the planters who wanted continued supplies to undercut the bargaining power of the contract-expired Indians. Their lobby in the British Parliament was counter-manned by English officials in the Government of India, a much more lucrative colony, which wanted to placate Indian nationalists. The latter, from the Indian National Congress, were informed about the abysmal conditions of indentured labourers by Mohandas Gandhi, then a young lawyer in Natal South Africa. While the periodic strikes by indentures on the plantations – here and in other colonies – to protest the violations of their contractual conditions were controlled by the planters via their proxy state Police did not have local impact, their reports in India stimulated the Indian nationalists in India. Especially in 1913 when 13 workers were shot and killed at Plantation Rose Hall.The end of Indian indentureship then precipitated the struggle by Indians for equity, justice and full civil rights after all indentured contracts were commuted on January 1, 1920, and they became full citizens. Even though a labour union to represent urban workers was launched in 1919, fourteen protesting sugar workers were shot and killed in 1924. Finally, in 1939, after four more were killed at Leonora and five in 1948 at Enmore, their own labour union picked up their struggle, which unfortunately, continues into the present.
On Tuesday last, in the hallowed corridors of the High Court, the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) dropped a bombshell by stating that the voters’ list, which expired on April 30, 2019, can be refreshed and used for the elections which should have been held as of March 21, 2019.He further explained that if a Claims and Objections exercise is used, then the expired list would form the basis of a preliminary one to facilitate that process. That is exactly what the Opposition has been saying since the Government raised concerns after the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) was passed.The CEO’s statement in question is, therefore, tremendously significant given that he embarked on House-to-House (H2H) Registration to derive a new list which, in reality, can take up to about nine months— a period way beyond the three-month constitutional period for the elections to be held. Noteworthy, his comments were made at a time when the Chief Justice was hearing a case for the halting of the H2H exercise.The mind is therefore boggled as to why he did not implement that process as against the contentious H2H registration. While he can claim to be executing an order of the past Chairman of GECOM, he could have been more forceful in stating that position from the time the Government launched an attack on the list even before it expired.GECOM’s legal officer made known her position on the issue— one that differed from the Chairman and the Government-appointed Commissioners’. While she was vilified by Government supporters for simply reiterating the law, she stood her ground and advised that the H2H exercise would be illegal in the context of what has transpired since December 21 last year.The Government peddled before April 30 that the voters’ list in its current form is unacceptable. The President branded it corrupt, outdated and with 200,000 incorrect entries. Those were the grounds for demanding that GECOM conduct a new H2H process. It was convenient to say the least as was resorting to the Courts— red herrings to avoid the elections following the NCM.Another bombshell by the CEO was his claim of not advising the President that the list is bloated with 200,000 names. He said the bloated claim is speculative. By him not saying that the list is bloated suggests that it’s not; that’s from the horse’s mouth so to speak. What then did the President use to make that assertion? Again, it reeks of a red herring to continuously delay the elections.If then, according to the CEO, the current list, even though considered expired, can be used as a basis for a preliminary one to facilitate a Claims and Objections exercise to ensure that the elections be held within the three-month timeframe, and that the list may not be bloated as the President claims, why not immediately stop the H2H?In doing so, he would not only be heeding the Commission lawyer’s advice, but can commence the Claims and Objections exercise to meet the constitutional deadline, as ordered by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). What the Government has done successfully so far is create distractions to avoid and push the elections to 2020— its seemingly desired timeline.Given its dismal record in office, the Government believes that with more time, it can effect some level of damage control to appease voters. Buying time with the “currency” of red herring seems its preference. That could possibly explain why, despite the clarity in ruling of the CCJ, the President is still insisting that he must have a role in crafting the list of nominees for the Chairman of GECOM.By using that self-imposed role, he predicted gridlock in the process of deriving the names of six acceptable nominees. His prediction seems premised on his insistence of having persons of his choice on that list of six. After the CCJ’s ruling, he put forward eight names with most, if not all, affiliated to the Government and the Party he heads— the PNC.He has kept two in play, which the Leader of the Opposition has rejected. The Constitution is clear; the Leader of the Opposition submits a list of six names not unacceptable to the President from which he chooses one. As it is, some two weeks after the CCJ delivered its consequential orders, a Chairman for GECOM has not been named, no fault of the Leader of the Opposition.By keeping two names of his choice in play and by predicting gridlock, the President is probably signalling an intention to once again have a Chairman of his liking. He does have a role— to choose one name from six. If, and more than likely he wouldn’t, the Leader of the Opposition does not place the President’s two choices on the official list of six, the said list could be rejected. The President rejected three in the past.Again, his self-interpreted role is nothing but another skilfully crafted red herring out from the green corner to frustrate the process. The mother of all thus far, is the preposterous mathematical theory the Government used in the Courts to try to invalidate the NCM. The CCJ knew something was fishy. Sadly, the scent lingers.
Dear Editor,The PNC, which has hegemonic control of the APNUAFC Coalition, seems to always have a problem with mathematics. This is a historical problem.In the general elections of 1968, 1973 and 1985, the PNC claimed over 60 % of the votes when everyone knew that these were rigged elections.The 1978 referendum which was boycotted, most tellingly exposed the PNC, with empty streets and polling stations; nevertheless the PNC recorded 80% turn out at the polls and unabashedly gave themselves 2 more years in office to introduce a new constitution.More recently the PNC-led government went all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice to try to prove that 34 is the majority of 65 elected members of the National Assembly; their mathematical gymnastics failed and Guyana was made a laughing stock in the entire Caribbean region.More recently, no less than the President stated that there were “200,000 incorrect entries” on the voters’ lists , the “list was corrupted and needed to be sanitized”, hence the need for a new National House to House Registration and a new national identification card.No evidence or even “anecdotal stories”, to quote Minister Felix vis a vis the Haitian smuggling ring, were tendered to enlighten the population.Where did this figure of “200,000” come from? How did the President come up with this figure? No one knows but again the PNC like a magician with his magic wand conjured up 200,000 – another example of “PNC maths” at work.The fact that the Chief Elections Officer of the GECOM, when questioned by the media recently reference this astounding figure, disavowed that he had advised President Granger that the list was “bloated” with approximately 200,000 extra names. Lowenfield cited that the 200,000 figure is speculative. Understandable maybe, as how could he describe the voters’ list he oversaw for the 2015 general elections, as well as the voters’ list for 2016 and 2018 Local Government Elections be “bloated”? “Bloated”, he admitted,“was not a word he would affix to it”. Only a few months before he had described the same list as “clean and credible.”If one takes the “PNC maths” seriously then let us examine this proposition by the President. The list of Guyanese registered for the last General and Regional Elections in 2015 was 570,708. This election put the PNC-led APNUAFC Coalition in office, a list that it did not complain about then. If you reduced that List of 570,708 by Granger’s 200,000 you end up with 370,708 voters. This 370,708 is less than the number of people who actually voted at the 2015 General and Regional Elections; a total of 412,012 Guyanese voted at the 2015 Elections.The 2018 voters’ list has 633,155 eligible voters. If one subtracts Mr. Granger’s 200,000, there are 433, 155 voters, a mere 21,143 voters more than in 2015.So is this how the PNC intends to disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters presently on the voters’ list? There is no doubt in my mind that this is the plan.Now we have the “numbers game” with the House to House Registration, and again like the man with the “chic chic” board, the aim is to deliberately confuse and distract the audience.First, we have the announcement by GECOM that 20,000 people were registered at the end of Day 2, July 22, 2019.Then GECOM announced on July 31, 2019 that 69,547 were registered in the first 11 days.Next the Department of Information on August 4, 2019 announced that 108, 814 were registered by August 2, 2019. When the PRO of GECOM was asked to verify this she is quoted in the media as saying that “as of the weekend (August 3-4) it was 70,000 so it should be around 100,000.”Clearly the race is on; the GECOM secretariat is rushing to prove that this exercise can be done in 3 months, by October 20, 2019.However, no one believes that 108, 814 persons over the age of 14 have been so far registered. The fact that GECOM has not provided any data on the numbers registered by region or by the 29 Registration Offices only increases the suspicion. The fact that the CEO issued instructions to the Registration Officers to not give the permanent PPP/C scrutineers access to that information is also suspect.The 2008 national house to house registration exercise was done in six months, January 7, 2008 to July 4, 2008. 430,745 persons were registered 14 years old and above; 33,000 were not registered as they did not have birth certificates at the time. General and regional elections were held in December 2011 after at least four continuous registration cycles and a claims and objections period.In the 2008 house to house registration exercise an average of 2,393 persons were registered per day; in 2019 GECOM would have us believe that 7,254 were on average registered per day in the first 15 days. GECOM knows that this is not accurate.Readers may need to be reminded that on June 14, 2007, the Government of Guyana, GECOM and all of the existing Parliamentary Political Parties agreed to the conduct of the 2008 House-to-House Registration. The agreement which was signed by the GOG, PPP/C, PNCR-1G, AFC, GAP-ROAR, and the United Force (TUF) stated as follows:-“That, prior to the holding of the forthcoming Local Government elections, a national 2007 House-to-House Registration, of all eligible registrants aged 14 years and over, will be undertaken by GECOM and this will constitute the country’s new National Register of Registrants NRR)….That all of the abovementioned Parties agree that the procedure of Continuous Registration will, thereafter, be used by the Guyana Elections Commission to update the NRR, on an ongoing basis, to ensure that a Voters’ List could be readily extracted for the holding of future elections.”The 2008 house to house registration exercise was called the “Mother of All Registrations’ that would provide a new National Register of Registrants Data Base and ensure that GECOM with statutory continuous registration cycles would be in a state of readiness to hold elections at any time.Over the last eight months, GECOM has refused to prepare for elections; this is the first time that elections have not been held within 90 days as required by the constitution. In actual fact, it is GECOM during this period that has been an integral part of the subversion of constitutional rule in our country.How can GECOM complete this exercise in half the time that it took to do so in the 2008 registration and with a larger population base now? This becomes even more dubious when one remembers what Vincent Alexander, one of the three government- appointed members on GECOM told the media on February 11, 2019 that “July 2019 and February 2020 are the two dates Commissioners of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) will consider for the hosting of General and Regional Elections.” According to Alexander, “…if claims and objections begin soon then you can host elections in July. If House to House registration is done, then elections would be February 2020…” Even Attorney Marcus, SC, for GECOM told the CCJ on July 1, 2019 that the house to house exercise would end on December 25, 2019!What made GECOM in June this year half the time for the house to house exercise when it had projected in its work plan dated February 25th 2019, two months after the No confidence motion, that the House to House exercise would take from June 2nd to December 18, 2019, a total of 199 days or 6 months and 16 days? Now that the exercise started one month and 18 days later means that the date would most likely be pushed to early February 2020. Add to that the other consequential processes such data verification, cross matching of fingerprints, the production of a Preliminary Voters Lists, then a Claims and Objection period, followed by the production of the Official List of Electors, and you could very well be holding elections well into mid-2020.This is a travesty unheard of in any democratic or democratic aspiring nation.But no matter how GECOM rushes, skips people’s houses and threatens people with being locked up if they do not register, it cannot escape the timeline of article 106 (7) of the Guyana Constitution and the CCJ June 18th ruling and July 12th consequential orders.Make no bones about it, September 18th 2019 will come and the government will be illegal. It cannot remain in office in defiance of the Constitution and the Caribbean Court of Justice.But there are 2 options that can prevent Guyana from becoming a pariah state;-i) If the Court rules on August 14, 2019 that the House to House exercise must be halted, elections preparations start immediately and elections be held as close as possible to the September 18th deadline; OR,ii) The Guyana Elections Commission decides to halt the House to House exercise by mid-August; within 10 days commence a three week Claims and Objections period using the November 2018 voters’ list, elections could be held as soon as early mid-October.Both options would knowingly be past the September 18th deadline but not too distant.However, it is highly unlikely that the Granger caretaker government will deviate from its plan to remain in office for another year following the No Confidence Motion.The PNC-led APNUAFC government is obsessed, and has been since 2015, when they won with only a hair breath of 4,000 odd votes, despite the largest ever turnout of their supporters. This pre-occupation has become more entrenched after their loss at the 2016 Local Government Elections, and, even more worrying after the 2018 Local Government Elections when it lost its mandate to govern. The PNC’s objective is to ensure that the voters’ list guarantees their victory, or, as they call it a ‘credible election.” This can only be done with padding the list with people not eligible to be voters and disenfranchising thousands who are entitled to vote, and the House to House exercise allows for these objectives to be met.The PNC predictably is also counting on threats of violence, veiled and overt, by its leaders, as per Basil Williams recently at the American Chamber of Commerce’s panel discussion. We have experienced all of this already; in 2015 when the PPPC was calling on GECOM to do a recount, the APNUAFC Coalition threatened that results had to be announced urgently or they would burn down Georgetown. GECOM capitulated. The PNC once again is counting on the use of fear and threats as it did in the 1992, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2011, and 2015 elections to suppress their opponents, and intimidate the middle roaders, sections of the middle class, foreigner investors and the international community, into compliance.But once again, the PNC has the maths wrong—–June 18 + 3 months= September 18th 2019; the government is illegal– House to house registration + 3 months = a flawed list; the government is illegal– Elections in December= the government is illegal– 633,155 voters + claims and objections= APNUAFC out of governmentWhichever way it chooses the APNUAFC Coalition caretaker government’s days are numbered.Sincerely,Gail Teixeira
The recent bouts of power outages over the last two days, which affected four regions in the country, were as a result of two mega voltage cables coming into contact.Following Sunday evening’s power outage from Moleson Creek, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) all the way to Parika, Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), and including Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) , the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc was able to restore power nearly three hours later. AccordingThe cables at Vlissengen Road and Lamaha Street intersection which came into contact resulting in Sunday night’s power shutdownto acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the power company, Renford Homer, this process usually takes about an hour, but some challenges were encountered, thus causing the delay in power restoration that night.However, the acting CEO posited that while power was restored that evening, at the time technicians were unaware of the cause of the outage. This resulted in a combing exercise on Monday morning, to ascertain the source of the previous night’s power shutdown. During this exercise, however, another power outage was experienced, during which the power cables crossover was detected at feeders located north-east of the Vlissengen Road and Lamaha Street intersection. “We had a situation where cables with two extreme voltages were basically coming into contact. So one cable with 13,800 volts was coming into contact with a cable – a 69,000 volts,” he explained, adding that this caused a fiery explosion that “literally disturbed the entire (distribution) network”.The 69,000 volt conductor is the main transmission line that links Sophia to Kingston while the 13,800 volt conductor takes power from the Kingston facility to parts of Queenstown, Subyranville, Kitty, Prashad Nagar and so on.Homer noted that immediate efforts to correct this situation saw the de-energising of not only the transmission line (F line) but also the submarine cable linking Vreed-en-Hoop to Kingston.“So we were able to get the corrective work done, which took about two to two and a half hours, and then we basically re-energised the transmission lines and slowly bring the system back into a steady state,” he noted.Furthermore, Homer pointed out that the after-effect of these two high-voltage cables coming into contact was felt on Tuesday morning.“A disturbance of that nature can have a ripple effect, particularly the F line suffered quite a great shock and so on Tuesday morning there was another disturbance… (Tuesday) morning, we found that the F line had become entangled with another feeder and this was as a result of a short-circuit situation…which we believed would have been an after-effect of what took place on Sunday,” he stated.Asked what could have caused the overlapping of the two cables that led to Sunday night’s power shutdown, the acting GPL CEO asserted that there were two contributory factors. Firstly, he explained that because the utility poles made out of wood and is fixed into the ground, if there is any movement, this could result in a shift of the cables.“Now, we haven’t established clearly that this is what it was, or whether it was work that was done sometime before that probably may not have been done to standards,” he stated.Nevertheless, Homer told this newspaper that what needed to be done going forward was a programme of remedial works not only at the Vlissengen Road intersection, but along the various corridors where there were these crossover scenarios in order to ensure that there was adequate spacing in accordance to the technical standards between conductors.Nevertheless, the GPL official posited that with the comprehensive check and remedial work done, there should be no similar disturbances, at least not any relating to the this particular issue.“Having recognised and identified where that problem was and corrected it, as it is now it would probably require a major disturbance on the structure for there to be another contact between the cables. We are pretty confident that the work we have done will not at this instance or even going into the future allow for that,” he reaffirmed.Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson explained to reporters at the briefing on Tuesday, that Sunday’s power outage was “catastrophic” to the distribution network.To this end, Minister Patterson pointed out that steps were being put in place to have an alternative power network for situations such as Sunday night’s. In fact, he noted that tenders were recently opened for this alternative line.“It is envisaged that we have a ring, so in the future if this transmission line (at Vlissengen Road) goes down, we can divert and have power go to the Sophia Station via another route,” he stated.Moreover, Patterson noted that GPL would also be investing some US$31 million in expanding and upgrading its power distribution network.In the meantime, while he believes the corrective works done would prevent a reoccurrence of what transpired over the last two days, the Public Infrastructure Minister opined that emphasis needed to be placed on the sensitive nature of these power poles. To this end, he urged motorists to be cautious on the roadways.
0Shares0000Former Australia full-back Israel Folau was sacked for making a homophobic comment on social media © AFP / Saeed KHANSYDNEY, Australia, Dec 4 – Israel Folau said Wednesday he had been “vindicated” after a surprise settlement with Rugby Australia ended the former Wallaby’s divisive, multi-million dollar lawsuit over his sacking for anti-gay comments.The governing body and Folau both apologised for “any hurt or harm” caused as they released a joint statement after two days of mediation aimed at avoiding a drawn-out and expensive court case. Folau, an ardent Christian and former poster boy of Australian rugby, was fired in May over a social media post warning “hell awaits” gay people and others he considers sinners.“Rugby Australia and Mr. Folau wish each other well for the future. The parties do not intend to comment further on the terms of their settlement as it is confidential,” said the statement, which made no mention of Folau’s playing future.The 30-year-old former Wallabies full-back later posted a video statement online, flanked by wife Maria, in which he said he was “really pleased” with the settlement.“With today’s acknowledgement and apology by Rugby Australia we have been vindicated and can now move on with our lives to focus on our faith and our family,” said Folau in the video on his YouTube channel.He had been set to demand Aus$14 million (US$9.5 million) in compensation, claiming he was unlawfully dismissed under legislation that bans sacking someone because of their religion.Folau had claimed his religious freedom was at stake, winning backing from prominent conservatives and the Australian Christian Lobby, which raised more than Aus$2 million in just two days to help pay his legal fees.The sport’s governing body, which would have faced serious financial difficulties had it lost the case, argued the termination for “high-level” misconduct was purely contractual.It came after Folau received a code of conduct warning over a similar post in 2018.Folau was defending his actions as recently as Monday, saying in a video statement that “I only share passages from the Bible as a gesture of love”.The end of the saga will be a relief for Rugby Australia, who are beginning a post-World Cup era under new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, a New Zealander.– Bushfires ‘God’s judgement’ –The joint statement acknowledged that Folau was expressing genuinely-held religious beliefs and had not meant to offend anyone with his post, which was widely condemned.“Mr. Folau wants all Australians to know that he does not condone discrimination of any kind against any person on the grounds of their sexuality and that he shares Rugby Australia’s commitment to inclusiveness and diversity,” it said.Despite the settlement, Folau’s playing future is uncertain © AFP/File / Ben STANSALLThe statement added that Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby “do not in any way agree with the content” of Folau’s post.The governing body also apologised for any hurt caused to Folau and his family, while Folau said he had not intended to cause any harm to rugby.Folau played 73 Tests for the Wallabies and was Super Rugby’s record try-scorer for the NSW Waratahs before his four-year, Aus$4 million contract was terminated.He was originally seeking Aus$10 million compensation but upped that by $4 million last week, arguing he could have one day captained Australia.What happens next for Folau is not known.Australia’s National Rugby League has previously said it would not welcome him back to the 13-man code he played at the start of his career.An attempt to join Tonga’s national rugby league team in September faltered amid in-fighting among officials, and Folau has recently focused on his legal battle and preaching at the Sydney church where he worships.He sparked outrage with one sermon last month that suggested deadly bushfires raging in Australia were “God’s judgement” for the legalisation of same-sex marriage and abortion.Even his conservative backers condemned the remarks, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who cited Folau’s sacking when introducing laws designed to protect religious freedom.“We started this journey on behalf off all people of faith to protect their rights of freedom of speech and religion,” Folau said in his video statement Wednesday.“We now look forward to the federal government enacting the legislation necessary to further protect and strengthen these rights for all Australians.”Corporate sponsors may shy away from any sport associated with Folau, who has become a polarising figure in Australia.Rugby Australia said in June that key sponsors such as airline Qantas would likely have walked away from the sport if it had not taken a strong stance over his homophobic remarks.0Shares0000(Visited 33 times, 1 visits today)
0Shares0000LIBREVILLE, Gabon, January 31 – Former African powerhouse Sudan, after decades in the international wilderness, are back in the big time after progressing to the Africa Cup of Nations last eight on Monday.A first appearance in 32 years in 2008 ended in a first round knockout, and that appeared on the cards again as they went into their closing Group B game in third place behind Angola and Ivory Coast. But a 2-1 defeat of already eliminated Burkina Faso combined with the Ivorians’ 2-0 win over Angola in simultaneous matches lifted them above the 2010 hosts into the Group B runner-up spot.The reward for coach Mohammed ‘Mazda’ Abdullah’s gallant heroes was a quarter-final against Zambia in Bata on Saturday.Ivory Coast, who fielded a reserve XI in Malabo, face co-hosts Equatorial Guinea, the same day.The other teams already through are Gabon and Tunisia with the remaining two quarter-final participants to come from Group D.Mazda was thrilled, saying: “We deserved to be in the quarters.“We played well…we’ve got one of the youngest teams in the tournament, with an average age of 24.“My side is making progress, after a defeat, a draw and now a win. This was one of our best matches.”His Burkina Faso counterpart Paulo Duarte believed his team had a bright future.“If I stay on (as coach), we’ll make it to the World Cup, we’ve got the quality to do that,” he said.In Bata, Mudather Eltaib scored either side of half time to bag the precious points which lifted the Sudanese level with Angola, their rivals for the runner-up spot in Group B, and crucially with a better goal difference.To add icing to the cake Sudan also celebrated winning their first Nations Cup match since 1970… in the final.The game was played out in a near-funereal atmosphere, with almost more players than fans at Bata’s stadium, an embarrassment for organisers CAF and co-hosts Equatorial Guinea.In Malabo, former Arsenal defender Emmanuel Eboue and Wilfried Bony scored for Ivory Coast, who topped the final table with three wins, in a lacklustre tie.Ivory Coast coach Francois Zahoui, while relieved to see his side progress, said: “The real relief will be to win the title. We’ll keep our feet on the ground. I’ll be happy when we have achieved our aim of bringing pleasure to the Ivorian people.“We want to make it to the end, otherwise a couple of wins doesn’t mean anything.”Angola manager Jose ‘Lito’ Vidigal reflected: “It was really difficult and we worked very hard to go through.“We had lots of problems to qualify for this Nations Cup, but I’d like to thank all our fans.“We were up against a very strong Ivory Coast side who are going to go far in this tournament.”The Nations Cup action crosses the border on Tuesday for the closing Group C games, with Tunisia and Gabon in a face off in Franceville for top spot while already eliminated Niger and Morocco battle for honour in Libreville.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush has picked a Kentucky cardiologist who is interested in fighting childhood obesity to be the nation’s next surgeon general, the White House announced on Thursday. Bush nominated Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr., professor of preventive medicine at the University of Kentucky, to be the 18th surgeon general, who oversees the U.S. Public Health Service. Holsinger has led Kentucky’s health care system, taught at several U.S. medical schools and served more than three decades in the United States Army Reserve, retiring in 1993 as a major general. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Cloughaneely assured their place as group winners in the Michael Murphy Sports & Leisure Donegal IFC with a 1-14 to 1-2 success over Naomh Ultan on Saturday.Manager Michael Lynch has already seen his team survive in Division 1 this term and they could well be among the favourites for championship success, particularly with Jason McGee having returned from injury.However, it’ll be one step at a time for team from Falcarragh as Lynch told Alan Foley Listen: Cloughaneely manager Michael Lynch as his team reach IFC quarters was last modified: September 23rd, 2019 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:2019 Donegal IFCCloughaneelyMichael Lynch