EXCITING EXCHANGE Both men then tried to stamp their authority on the fight, and there was an exciting exchange over the last 20 seconds of the round, which was a signal to spectators that they were in for a fistic treat. And so it was. The excitement continued into the second round as a confident and sometimes cocky Gardener scored repeatedly with hard punches to the head and body. Lewis had his moments of ascendancy, but it was Gardener who scored consistently and methodically in the third round, which produced a lot of action and had spectators on their feet cheering wildly as the tempo of the fight increased. Things reached a crescendo in the fourth round as Gardener let loose with a barrage of punches. Lewis was not able to keep him at bay and he was hurt in this round. After a quick burst of two-fisted action from Gardener, Lewis seemed ready to fall and would have quite likely hit the canvas if he had not been caught up in the ropes. Referee Owen Nelson ruled this a knock-down, however, and gave Lewis an eight count. Gardener was all over him at the bell. When Gardener came out for the fifth and final round, he was more conservative and appeared winded. This was not surprising, however, as it was the first time that he had gone beyond three rounds. Lewis was not able to capitalise on this, however, and Gardener was able to end the fight on cruise control, and a with a victory neatly tucked away in his pocket. There was one amateur bout on the card which saw Samuel Grant of Sugar Olympic Gym scoring a points victory over Collel Hogg from Boys’ Town. Hard-hitting Michael ‘The Wasp’ Gardener moved one step closer to his goal of being the 2016 Wray and Nephew Contender champion when he scored a brilliant victory on points over his more experienced rival, Ramel ‘Sub Zero’ Lewis, at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium on Wednesday night. It was a unanimous decision as Judge Ransford Burton scored the fight 49-45, Laurence Neufville 49-46, and Peter Richards 50-45. This was easily the most exciting fight in the competition so far, and spectators had a lot to cheer about. Both men had signalled beforehand that they would be throwing a lot of punches, and they kept their word. The action started immediately after the signal to start was given, and it was Lewis who landed the first decisive punches. Gardener retaliated very quickly, however, and three jabs followed by a hook to the body sent the signal to Lewis that he was in for a hard night. The Gardener camp had something to think about before the round ended as he was cut over the left eye by a punch. The doctor examined it and ruled that it was nothing serious.
…says Thomas, Retemyer holding posts unlawfullyAlthough the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) Act came into force since May 11, 2017, SARA remains mired in deep controversy, according to former Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall.Opposition MP Anil NandlallNandlall reminded that several questions raised even before the Bill was tabled in the National Assembly by a wide cross-section of society, including, the parliamentary Opposition, to date remained unanswered.Expectedly, within one month of the Bill’s enactment, legal proceedings were launched challenging the constitutionality of several of the provisions of the controversial SARA legislation. These proceedings are still pending in the Constitutional Division of the High Court.SARA Director, Professor Clive ThomasThe Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) said if this challenge was successful, then everything that SARA would have done would become legally questionable, including the impending charges. “It would be interesting to see how the Government will navigate these technical legal issues,” he stated.Pointing to some clear loopholes in the transitionary period, Nandlall claimed that the persons who currently hold the position of Director and Deputy Director of the agency, Professor Clive Thomas and Aubrey Retemyer respectively, seem to be holding those posts unlawfully.“Having regard to the track record of the coalition Government, these persons are obviously enjoying handsome remuneration packages. The public is unaware of what these packages are, although public funds are being utilised to finance them,” he explained.SARA Deputy Director Aubrey RetemyerThe former Attorney General has argued that both Thomas and Retemyer may be obtaining those monies unlawfully, because the Act provides for the Director and Deputy Director to be appointed by the National Assembly. Neither Thomas nor Retemyer were appointed by the National Assembly.The terms of their office are to be determined by the Parliamentary Committee on Appointments, as provided for by the Act. Again, this has not been done, although it came into force over a year now.“Yet, Professor Clive Thomas continues to act as the Director of SARA under this transitionary provision. His continuation in office, therefore, is as illegal as that of the Deputy Director, who can only be appointed by the National Assembly under the Act and who was not,” he asserted.Nandlall, therefore, believes that the two men are in no position to lecture the nation about illegality and to be entrusted with the responsibility of investigating and curbing illegality.Political affiliationsThe other significant issue, which according to him, contaminates these two office holders, is their known and professed political connections. Professor Thomas is a leader of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), one of the political parties in the coalition Government.On the other hand, Retemyer was recently quoted in the press as conceding that he has a political affiliation. Though he did not disclose to which political party he is aligned, Nandlall said it did not take a genius to figure out where his political allegiance lay, noting that it was certainly not with the Opposition.“However, he maintains that despite his political affiliation, he can act fairly. What he fails to understand is that the test is not subjective but objective: it is not what he thinks, but the perception, harboured by the ordinary Guyanese, that is important. Quite frankly, a perception that he will take instructions from the Office of the President is a quite reasonable one to hold in the circumstances,” Opposition MP said.In addition to that, Nandlall reminded that State Assets Recovery Unit (SARU) which was established as SARA, was housed in the Ministry of the Presidency while Retemyer was a member of the party in Government. He was appointed by the Ministry of the Presidency to SARU. That appointment still holds in SARA. SARA is still housed within the Ministry of the Presidency.“Minister Harmon conceded in the National Assembly that SARU’s budget is funded from the Ministry of the Presidency. So, it is quite natural to conclude that Mr Retemyer has political connections to the Government. These perceptions or realities will militate against Mr Retemyer and he may never be able to convince an alert Guyanese population of his impartiality and professionalism in this office,” he added.Tacuma Ogunseye and Desmond Trotman, two longstanding leaders of the WPA were also employed by SARU, which Nandlall said exacerbated the political contamination. There is no indication that they have not been transitioned over to SARA like their colleagues.(Samuel Sukhnandan)