Last night, Twiddle made their debut at The Capitol Theatre for a sold-out show with TAUK, and special guest Matisyahu. The pre-party was spent at Garcia’s, while the one-and-only jamband concert pianist Holly Bowling displayed her impeccable talents. Riveting as ever, she performed a perfectly pleasing balance of Phish and Grateful Dead tunes.Twiddle Debuts New Song, Welcomes Matisyahu For Sold-Out Capitol Theatre Show [Videos/Review]The set closed with a surprise special guest appearance from Twiddle’s own Ryan Dempsey. The two had a blast tackling “Harry Hood” together in their show-stopping performance. With Bowling holding down the melodies, Dempsey took lead in a tastefully beautiful Hood jam. Watch how it all went down:Holly Bowling @ Garcia’s 5/7/16 Setlist:My Friend, My Friend, Help on the Way > Slipknot! > Theme from the Bottom > Randall’s Chalkdust Jam > Theme from the Bottom > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower, It’s Ice, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing > Terrapin Station Suite, Taste, Harry Hood** w/ Ryan Dempsey from Twiddle
GECOM audit…DCEO says he is not aware of thisAs the probe intensifies into the nearly $100 million procurement of defective radios by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), which is mired in allegations, reports have now surfaced that several procurement files have allegedly disappeared.State auditors earlier this month began perusing the books of GECOM after the Audit Office of Guyana reportedly noticed some discrepancies in the purchase of 50 obsolete VHF radios by the Commission prior to the May 11, 2015 General and Regional Elections, for a whopping $100 million, way above the average market price.Speaking at a Thursday morning news conference at Freedom House, Robb Street, Georgetown, Robeson Benn, one of the three People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Commissioners on GECOM said that he was informed that several procurement files were missing.dr steve surujbally“I have been informed that 20 files relating to procurement information went missing from GECOM last week. That is the information I have; I don’t know the veracity of it. But these are the things you are hearing from people who ought to know,” Benn told reporters.Continued efforts to contact GECOM Chairman, Dr Steve Surujbally proved futile, as calls to his mobile are answered by a female who kept saying “he is in the clinic”. However, Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO), Vishnu Persaud said he was not aware of any files missing from the Commission.Benn also alleged that there were significant questions regarding the procurement of ballot papers for the 2016 Local Government Elections and numerous requests for an investigation have been refused by the Commission’s Chairman.“Both sides of the Commission (Government and Opposition) are aware of these issues, both sides have raised issues, questions on these matters and concerns about these matters before,” he stated.Evidence tamperingMeanwhile, Bibi Shaddick, another PPP/C Commissioner at GECOM, said she was concerned that despite being on annual leave, the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, who is also the accounting officer of the Commission, was frequenting his office at a time when a probe into alleged financial irregularities was taking place.This could lead to suspicions of evidence tampering and, as such, the Commissioners requested that there be a “lock down” on all files and documentation relating to procurement so as to avoid any tampering; however, the CEO has refused “point-blank”.Shaddick said that should the probe go beyond the CEO’s vacation, she would be proposing that he be sent on administrative leave.It is important to note that during a series of forensic audits initiated by the Government at a number of State agencies, the accounting officers were either sent on annual or administrative leave to facilitate the probes.Worst-run organisationCommissioner Benn believes that the corruption at the electoral body is deep-rooted, with key players at many levels of the organisation. He went on to describe the management of the organisation as “a national disgrace”.“GECOM is indeed the worst-run organisation I have associated with and the rot starts at the top and that is where the problem is and I don’t think if there is proper investigations conducted, there will be any room to hide for those who are involved in the various procurements and the ongoing allowance at various levels of that commission of runnings,” Benn stated, adding that not every manager at the organisation was involved.Moving forwardIn moving forward, the PPP/C Commissioner stated, there needed to be some house cleaning and some heads must roll, the first being Dr Surujbally.“I don’t think that the Chairman has any locus standi at GECOM and [as such] I think he should go now.”“We have to clean it up, to pare it and to make it work and function in the interest of the people of the country. GECOM cannot be relied on to carry out its function if the perceived level of corruption is allowed to continue into the organisation,” Benn declared.GECOM earlier this month was caught in a web of corruption allegations surrounding the purchase of the radios from Mobile Authority, a company owned by a Water Street, Georgetown businessman, while sidelining Barrett Communications, the manufacturer of the said radio sets. Barrett subsequently distanced itself from the radio sets and highlighted that it had ceased production of that particular equipment since 2009, six years before they were purchased by GECOM.Subsequently, reports surfaced that the Commission doled out close to $100 million to M-Tech Business Solutions, another company owned by the same Water Street businessman, this time for the supply of toners used for photocopiers and printers, office furniture and equipment, photo paper and scanners, printing accessories, and even Duracell batteries.Additionally, the Commission is accused of purchasing a whopping $14 million in nippers from another relative of the same businessman.GECOM officials, including the Chairman and CEO, have refused to comment on the allegations.Dr Surujbally, when contacted by Guyana Times on Monday, stated that he preferred to await the findings of State auditors.“We are awaiting the result of the audit; let the auditors tell us that has happened or that has not happened. Let us be clear on a matter. I cannot pronounce on a matter that is still being investigated,” he said.He also distanced himself from the allegations of corruption, making it clear he was not responsible for the financial affairs of the Commission, but rather the CEO.“In 2015, when we had the elections, the accounting officer is the Chief Elections Officer,” Dr Surujbally highlighted.In March 2014, Lowenfield was appointed CEO and continued to serve in that capacity.