Jury acquits man for Eccles stabbing

first_imgThe trial of George Dover concluded at the High Court on Thursday when a 12-member jury panel acquitted him on two counts of attempted murder committed on fellow Eccles, East Bank Demerara (EBD) resident Kester Yamster on April 10, 2015 at Eccles.Dover had always maintained that he was innocent of the allegations, and the jury, by way of its decision which came after two-and-a-half hours of deliberations, concurred with the contention of the former accused.On first count of attempted murder, he was unanimously found not guilty but on the second count he was acquitted via a proportion of 10-2.After he was freed, Justice Navindra Singh, who had presided over the trial, encouraged Dover to make more informed decisions in life, considering he is still a young man.The State was represented by Abigail Gibbs, Tiffini Lyken and Shawnette Austin, and the defence team was led by attorney George Thomas, while Retired Rear Admiral Gary Best and Keisha Persaud had also appeared for the accused.Dover had, on Wednesday, given an unsworn statement to the jury, denying he was the aggressor in the incident, and saying it was in fact Yamster who had approached him. The virtual complainant Yamster was only 15 at the time of the stabbing.“He ask me what game you want play. He draw for something from he waist; he rush me and I hold onto he. We had a scuffle, he ease off of me and I run straight to Providence Police Station,” the former accused testified.However, on Tuesday, the virtual complainant, Kester Yamster, had positively identified the defendant as the one who stabbed him at a plantain chip stand at Eccles. His story was that he clearly saw Dover’s face for about 10 seconds before he left the area in a northerly direction.“I saw a shadow passing, and when I turned around to see who it was, I saw Mr. Dover; (he) came at me three times. He had a black handkerchief wrapped around his hand. He was coming to my chest; I feel a numbness in my chest,” Yamster told the court earlier this week.According to Yamster’s story, he placed his hand on his chest and noticed that he was bleeding. Yamster, who lives about one corner away from where the incident had happened, said that after Dover had run off, he also ran, but to his parapet, where he sat in the presence of relatives before he lost consciousness. The next thing he remembered was waking up in a wheelchair at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC), where he was later treated for his injuries, and discharged a few days later.Questioned by the Prosecution, Yamster admitted he had run-ins in the lead up to the night in question. He said he had confronted Dover over rumours that Dover had kissed his aunt. When he first heard those rumours, Yamster said, he had run home crying.Further, he said he confronted Dover over money owed to him for a toque (headwear) that Dover got from him. Yamster said he told him it was used, and claimed that he opted to sell it because his father had said it made him look like a thief.last_img read more

GECOM abandons public procurement, tendering system

first_img2018 LGE Voter Education Programme …accused of contract splitting, rewarding ‘phantom companies’ The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has been accused of abandoning the public procurement system which guarantees transparency and accountability, as it made shocking revelations at its most recent Commissioners meeting that it has already awarded several contracts to companies for the provision of key services under its 2018 Local Government Elections (LGE) Voter Education Programme without publicly advertising for those services.And what is even more shocking is that the Commission has reportedly failed to say exactly how much of its overall LGE budget has been set aside to meet its initiatives and other projects under the entity’s Voter Education Programme, as was traditionally the case under previous GECOM Chief Elections Officers and Chairmen.Chief Commissioner for the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), who attended the last meeting where these revelations were made, Bibi Shadick, explained that she has personally requested that the Commission’s Secretariat provide all Commissioners with the exact process that was utilised to select the companies and the method used to advertise various services that were required to be externally secured under the Voter Education Programme.“I don’t know where they got those names and companies from… or how they selected them… it was only when we started asking questions based upon reports in the press that the Secretariat via the Chief Elections Officer began sharing this information,” she remarked during an interview on Wednesday evening.Asked if there was a Voter Education Manager employed by GECOM, Shadick responded in the negative, stating that she is not aware that that vacancy had been filled or even advertised.Pressed as to what role the Commissioners played in the conceptualisation of GECOM’s Voter Education Programme or the initiatives that would be embarked upon, Shadick said no proposal addressing that specific programme was brought to the Commissioners for their input or consent.“The answers we are getting from the Commission are nowhere near transparent,” she opined. The PPP Commissioner also said that GECOM is making the excuse that it was in a rush and haste to meet timelines and get work going under the Voter Education Project but this seems strange as the date for LGEs was made public via the Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan back in May of this year.Shadick even vented her concerns in a letter to the Editor published in today’s dailies where she questioned the integrity of the entire process as adumbrated by GECOM.“Just before the meeting, information was shared via email about the voter education activities promised to us last week. The information included a matrix of PR and other multimedia outfits which apparently sent quotations for several activities including infomercials and flyers. Questions were asked and it turns out that none of this procurement of services was publicly advertised, no information was available as to how the entities were chosen to send in quotes, and how the various activities were even disaggregated!,” Shadick suggested.She further explained that “activities such as the voting process; stamping ballot paper; voting without an ID; eligibility to vote; voter rights and responsibility; voting by proxy and election offences are all listed separately for 60 second infomercials costing between $65,000 and $160,000. The basis for this listing remained unexplained and the impression I got was that the whole thing is contract splitting to benefit select outfits. As usual, the excuse for no public tender or anything resembling a transparent process was sacrificed at the altar of ‘not enough time and statutory deadlines to meet in a great hurry’”.She even took aim at APNU’s Chief GECOM Commissioner Vincent Alexander who she described as “a would-be pacifist” when he lamented “the absence of a procurement manual which would disallow such underhand practices, yet that manual remains elusive”.During the interview, Shadick underscored the importance of getting the most out of the money spent by GECOM as he explained that the voter education component of any elections is important.Documents seen by Guyana Times on Wednesday also exposes the fact several companies were listed as having sent quotations to GECOM for the provision of services. Some of the entities that got the bulk of various contracts and job orders were Murondi Radio Drama, Intel Storm, Fuse Arts, Modern Media and Pro-media.GECOM is looking for the production of 60 second infomercials, 60 second advertisements, the printing and design of posters and flyers on various electoral issues.Questioned as to who was responsible for supervising the programme, Shadick said it would appear that the functions were passed on to GECOM’s Public Relations Officer Yolanda Warde. She was quoted extensively in the media last week announcing that the Voter Education Programme would be launched this week.“Prior to nomination, we focused on contestants and the preparation of their list of candidates… We have since started our programme as it relates to the voter education aspect… Our audio visual element will commence next week focusing primarily on the voter education aspects; rights and responsibilities, eligibility, the voting process and all that’s required for the elector to be aware of as it relates to participating in the Local Government Elections process,” Warde said.Warde also disclosed that GECOM has identified a company to commence work on its social media education awareness. She clarified that the voter education campaign is being managed by GECOM itself and not by an advertising agency.“For each individual production which ever company emerged as the successful bidder, that’s the company that was selected so there is no one individual company. As it relates to placement of advertisements, that is being done by GECOM so it’s not an advertising company that is managing that process for us. So, we have already commenced that process in terms of the placement as it relates to the television process and so,” she reported.GECOM’s entire budget for 2018 is $2.9 billion of which the sum for the holding of Local Government Elections is included. $160 million was allocated for capital works and items and $1.6 billion for the normal operations of the Commission. As such, the remaining sum of $1.2 billion was allotted for the conduct of Local Government Elections in November.In 2016, $1.5 billion was expended for Local Government Elections. (Michael Younge)last_img read more