Dear Editor,The illegal APNU/AFC coalition Government, along with their hybrid extensions in the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), have uncaringly enveloped Guyana in a serious and deliberate crisis. As they stubbornly attempt to cling on to power in breach of widely accepted constitutional norms, their actions and the implications now have far-reaching consequences for Guyana in the short, medium, and long terms.In the first instance, the ungainly policies of the Government have significantly contributed to the no-confidence motion (NCM) which was tabled in Parliament and ruled upon 33 to 32 votes in favour of the Opposition by the National Assembly after a fierce debate. This, in tandem with the now shamelessly flagrant manoeuvres by their biased quartet in the GECOM seven-member Commission, has been used to orchestrate the expiry of the voters’ list on April 30, 2019.As the cabal’s sneaky and abusive moves continue however, our troubled Guyanese nation can have a measure of solace in a correction that should rationally emerge from the upcoming ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) before advancing other options.It is public knowledge that the hierarchy of the PNC/APNU is aware of its foundationless position, and many among them were not shy about revealing, at the General Council meeting, that the coalition is merely hanging on to power.It is also crystal clear that the PNC/APNU’s twisted interest in GECOM conducting house-to-house registration is solely for the purpose of delaying elections and extending the time they have in power. In fact, such sinister manoeuvres target defeating the intent of the drafters of the Constitution following the carried NCM; that is, to halt the damages to the country and people caused by the incumbent loser of the motion. In this regard, the Guyana Constitution posits having National Elections at the earliest time, or with appropriate speed.In effect, the approach ought to ensure that the voters’ list is updated by conducting a short period of continuous registration, in keeping with the approved legal mechanism. This is in regard to the fact that there was deliberate invalidation on April 30, 2019, mainly due to the bundle of excuses and legal challenges raised following the ruling by the Speaker.The PNC/APNU have been caught with their pants down and in flagrant violation of commitments made to the people. It is also clear that GECOM’s failure to address the readiness for elections at this time is obviously due to the aligned Chairman’s allowance of intentional intrusion, and influences by the PNC party. Such abuse must be prevented in the future by treatment of opposite radical countenance.As the highest and final Court of Jurisdiction, the CCJ, in its considerations with respect to the NCM passed by the Guyana National Assembly on December 21, 2018, is called upon to give clear guidance for the immediate holding of elections, given the continued damage being inflicted by APNU/AFC on the nation over their five months of defiance since the carried motion.The PNC/APNU quartet at GECOM simply cannot hope to continuously violate the organisation’s constitutional mandate and sanctity of entrusted autonomy for the benefit of the PNC cabal, while holding the nation at ransom. It is also expected, therefore, that such wanton disregard for the immediacy of the constitutional directives of Article 106 be enforced as a consideration when the CCJ rejects the position taken by the Guyana Court of Appeal.Sincerely,Neil Kumar
Out of the 81 booths that will be displayed at the Guyana Trade and Investment Exhibition (GUYTIE), 55 are expected to be export-ready, seeking to secure foreign investors.The exhibition, organised by the Private Sector Commission (PSC), will be held from September 19 to September 22 at the Marriott Hotel under the theme “Made Locally, Trading Globally”.Coordinator of the GUYTIE expo, Tameka Sukhdeo-Singh, made this revelation on Friday, and noted that the organisers are working with producers who have reached the level of producing items that are ready for exportation.“Persons who are export-ready are the persons we’re working with for this year.Coordinator of the GUYTIE expo, Tameka Sukhdeo-SinghBut, in the future, we plan on developing persons and (bringing) them to the level where they are ready to export. We’re hoping in the long run that the objective is to develop micro and small enterprises to get to the stage where they are export-ready and (desire) to be part of this event,” she declared.She noted that, in the midst of the expo, there will be seminars and other activities which will be done in collaboration with the partnering agencies. This is in keeping with the plan to access and supply markets around the world. However, the long-term plan is to assist with developing both macro and micro businesses across Guyana.“Part of the training sessions that we’re working with our exhibitors are (about) achieving successive trade shows, trade show participation, export marketing, and packaging and pricing, which is an important component of exporting,” Sukhdeo-Singh said.Presently, 30 foreign companies are registered to visit Guyana, to view local Guyanese products and establish partnerships with manufacturers by interacting with the local enterprises. The countries involved include Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Haiti, India, Korea, Barbados, Suriname, Canada and Cuba.The local participants are ExxonMobil, Massy Industries, Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI), Banks DIH, Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), GTT, and Caribbean Airlines, among others.On the last day of the expo, September 22, the event will be open to the public, with tickets on sale for $1000 at all GTT retail outlets in Georgetown.
“Parushi is a fairly new addition to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHS). It is a social programme that has provided empowerment and awareness for [a] maximum of three years,” Yvonne Barrow, Project Coordinator of the Parushi Club.The Thirty-Eight Girls who Graduated from The Parushi Club SRHR Mentorship programme.She was speaking at a graduation ceremony held on Sunday for teenage girls of the Buxton community. The ceremony was held at Grand Coastal Hotel, Le Ressouvenir, East Coast Demerara.Barrow added that the personal inspirational stories shared during the Saturday afternoon sessions served to empower the young girls to face unfair social practices.Assistant Chief Commissioner of the Guyana Girls Guide Association, Schmel Patrick said that in the Guyanese society, matters pertaining to sexual reproduction is labelled “taboo”.She implored parents present to support young girls in the Buxton community, saying “we need to give our girls the resources to make informed decisions”.Additionally, she encouraged the girls to share the knowledge that they have acquired through the programme.Project Coordinator of The Parushi Club, Yvonne BarrowThirteen-year-old Oshornde Joseph, a member of the Parushi Club, said that young women from her community came out every week to offer “words of encouragement to achieve” their dreams.SRHR Adventures launched the Parushi Club on Saturday, March 2, 2019, at Buxton Health Centre. Parushi is an Akawaio word meaning girls.The Parushi Club was a mentorship programme which catered for adolescent girls living in Buxton and Annadale. Members met every Saturday afternoon to discuss matters, such as sexual reproductive health, bullying and fundamental life skills.The club’s activities were funded by a grant from FRIDA, The Young Feminist Fund. FRIDA is a feminist organisation that provides support to young leaders to “amplify their voices and bring attention to their work”. The core values are flexibility, resources, inclusivity, diversity and action.
By Samuel SukhnandanThe resignation of Major General (retired) Joe Singh as a Presidential Adviser to the David Granger-led ruling administration has come as a huge surprise to many people; but for some, this was expected, especially coming from a man of such high standard and relevance in society.Outspoken political commentator and economist Ramon Gaskin is one of thoseMajor General (retired) Joe Singhpersons who believe that Singh “did the right thing by resigning.” Gaskin has said it takes a man of principle to make such a move. According to Gaskin, given the circumstances, Singh did what was best for him as a professional.“If the President didn’t feel he is a fit and proper person to be appointed Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) chairman, which is a position he had before, then he had no choice but to separate himself from that job. He cannot continue there. The man (President) said, ‘You’re not fit and proper’. So, in a sense he did the right thing, he did the principled thing and he left,” Gaskin opined.Singh, also a former Chairman of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), was one of the 18 persons whose names comprised the three lists that were submitted to President Granger by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo. However, Singh, like everyone on those lists, was bypassed and an 84-year-old retired judge, Justice James Patterson, was instead handpicked by the PresidentChartered Accountant Christopher Ramto take up the post of GECOM Chairman.Asked whether he thinks more persons would follow Singh’s example, Gaskin said he could not state if Singh’s action would encourage the other persons who had been shortlisted for the position of GECOM chair to follow suit; but he said those persons should understand that they are not considered fit and proper, and they should start considering whether they should continue engaging with Government, especially if they hold any positions.“A lot of people, according to the President and his Government, are not fit and proper, and they are cowards not to come forward and say anything… They normally don’t, they will just suffer the embarrassment in silence; but Joe has taken a public position on the matter,” Gaskin posited.Speaking about the resignation of Attorney-at-Law Christopher Ram, the eminent Chartered Accountant and vocal social activist who was on Government’s negotiating team for the establishment of a Law School in Guyana, Gaskin said he believes Ram did the right thing to follow in the footsteps of Singh.“It is not paid work, and they think he is not a fit and proper person, and he wants to separate himself from them and from the free work he has been doing. He has every right to. The work he had with the Attorney General’s Chambers had to be of some value, because they have asked him to rethink his position; but it seems as though he may not go back on his word,” Gaskin observed.Only recently, Minister of State Joseph Harmon challenged Ram, managingPolitical commentator and economist, Ramon Gaskinpartner of audit firm Ram and McRae, to consider withdrawing from those contracts which Ram and McRae has with any Government agency or the Government if he wants to indicate the seriousness of the withdrawal decision he has made.Gaskin said Ram is a partner in the audit firm and the decision to withdraw has to be made by that firm, but that doesn’t mean Ram cannot have his own personal opinion. “These are separate things altogether. The firm Ram and McRae performs the service of accountancy and audit. If they get work and are paid, they do their work professionally. It doesn’t mean that partners in that firm can’t have different political views. I don’t see the connection at all, and what Harmon is trying to get at,” he opined.Since the resignation of Dr Steve Surujbally last year, there has been an intense search for the next GECOM Chairman. As per the Constitution, Jagdeo had submitted three lists of six nominees each to the President. The first list, submitted in December of last year, had contained the following nominees: Governance and Conflict Resolution Specialist Lawrence Lachmansingh; Attorney-at-Law and outspoken anti-corruption advocate Christopher Ram; Retired Major General Norman Mc Lean; Business Executive Ramesh Dookhoo; Businesswoman Rhyaan Shah, and History Professor James Rose.The second list, submitted in May of 2017, contained the following names: Retired Justice of Appeal BS Roy; Retired Justice William Ramlall; former Magistrate Oneidge Walrond-Allicock; Attorneys Kashir Khan and Nadia Sagar; and Captain Gerry Gouveia.Major General Singh, who has held several positions over the years, including Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph, was included on the third list of nominees, submitted on August 25. The other nominees were Attorneys Teni Housty and Sanjeev Datadin; vocal conservationist Annette Arjune-Martins, Onesi La Fleur and Krishnadatt Persaud.That list was ultimately rejected by President Granger, and on Thursday, October 19, retired Justice James Patterson was sworn in as GECOM Chairman. Patterson was not nominated on any of the three lists, and since his unilateral appointment, there has been a crescendo of criticism. A number of individuals and organisations spanning a wide cross-section of society have soundly criticised and condemned the President’s unilateral decision, including the Guyana Bar Association; the Berbice Bar Association; the Private Sector Commission (PSC); the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA); and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).Criticism has also come from the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) and members of the diaspora. In addition, the political Opposition has filed a legal challenge in the courts on Monday, seeking to revoke Patterson’s appointment.
As the dust clears from Budget 2018, the parliamentary Opposition has expressed criticism of the budget’s paucity of measures for social welfare and the economy. In particular, the absences of these measures are being described as a detour from the good life.Irfaan AliOpposition Member of Parliament Irfaan Ali, in an analysis of the budget, observed that it offers no opportunity for any form of socio-economic development. In addition, he said the fiscal plan does not address the fundamental issues of wealth generation and improved standard of living.He said that as a result of the budget, Guyana runs the risk of socioeconomic hardship proliferating in the coming year. This, he noted, includes another year of high food prices and, increased educational cost, placing the vulnerable such as single parents in harm’s way.Also at risk, he said, are shop owners and manufacturers as they will have to deal with high fixed cost and low resources; while farmers who have had to contend with low yields and reduced market share are offered no respite.Sector performanceAccording to Ali, the key traditional sectors continue to show great signs of distress. He pointed out that in the sugar industry; production is expected to decline by $3.3 billion to $8.9 billion by the end of 2017. This, he noted, is down from $10.8 billion in 2016 and $13.6 billion in 2015.“In the rice sector, even though positive growth was recorded in 2016, the end of year projection for 2017 is less when compared to 2015 by $2 billion. Another crumbling sector is forestry. By the end of 2017, the sector is expected to contract by $3.1 billion to $6.4 billion when compared to 2015.”“And similarly, in the bauxite industry, output in 2017 is expected to decrease by $1.1 billion to $4.9 billion when compared to 2015. To have an idea of the bauxite has downsized, when compared to 2014 and 2013, the industry has contracted by more than $800 million and, $1.3 billion, respectively.”He noted that overall, the agriculture, fishing and forestry industry is expected to contract by $7.5 billion to $67.2 billion by the end of 2017 when compared to 2015. “How does this Government expect to take the people to the good life when key sectors that directly employ over 75 per cent of our labour force are expected to contract by 11.1 per cent this year? The journey to the good life has taken a detour towards dystopia,” Ali said.The Finance Ministry’s half year report had showed contractions in certain sectors, when compared to the corresponding period in 2016. The declining sectors had included sugar, livestock, forestry, mining and quarrying and even the bauxite industry. It showed that sugar production was recorded at 49,606 tonnes at the half year and when compared to 56,645 tonnes during the first half of 2016, represented a decline of 12.4 per cent. The livestock industry also contracted by 10.9 per cent in the first half of 2017, due to heavy rainfall severely affecting production, especially in the second quarter.The forestry industry also showed an 18.2 per cent contraction in the first six months of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. Declining production within the forestry industry was due to structural changes in the industry. The mining and quarrying sectors contracted by 4.0 per cent during the first half of 2017. Gold production fell by 1.7 per cent to 317,096 ounces, in the first half of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. Also, it showed the bauxite industry declined by 11.5 per cent, as a result of reduced production of higher valued grades. This was due to poor weather combined with mechanical issues at one of the mines. However, production of metal grade bauxite (MAZ) increased by 97,016 tonnes or 21.3 per cent, the report had stated.
Judicial appointmentOne day after President David Granger said Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo would have to justify his rejection of Justice Kenneth Benjamin and Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards as nominees for the substantive posts of Chancellor and Chief Justice respectively, Jagdeo is reminding the Head of State of his own rejection of the 18 nominees submitted by the Opposition for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) chairmanship post without any justification.“You recall this very President saying he doesn’t have to give reasons for rejecting the 18 names that I submitted to him. Eighteen persons of reputation, people who are professionals, people who have the capability of being a good chairperson of GECOM and he didn’t have a problem with dissing all of them without any reason. Now he wants me to justify rejection of [his] Chancellor and Chief JusticeOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeonominees,” the Opposition Leader pointed out to reporters at his weekly press conference on Thursday.On Wednesday, President Granger told media operatives that “[Jagdeo] has not told me what his process was in rejecting… If he can show that he has a similar process and justify the rejection of my candidate, it is something to be considered.”However, Jagdeo posited he was never formally asked to make such justification.“He never asked me (to justify my rejection)… I don’t conduct business, constitutional matters based on what I read in the newspapers. There is a process to this matter; you write me, this is not a cake shop. I wrote the President when he sent me the list and I said I didn’t support (his nominees). He has not responded in writing to me until now and that has been 78 months… So he might be talking around, when you catch on the corners of public events but that’s not a consultation,” the Opposition Leader contended.Moreover, Jagdeo did not say whether he would justify his rejection of the nominees if formally written to. Nevertheless, he went on to say too that the President does not seem serious enough about the appointment of the top judicial officers given the manner in which he has approached the entire matter.For months, there has been deadlock on the two judicial appointments, after the Opposition Leader rejected the President’s two nominees. Since then, there has not been any consensus between the two on the matter.Article 127 (1) of the Constitution of Guyana states “The Chancellor and the Chief Justice shall each be appointed by the President, acting after obtaining the agreement of the Leader of the Opposition.”While the two Guyanese leaders are expected to reignite discussions on the nominations during one of their planned engagements this month, localPresident David Grangerstakeholders including the Guyana Bar Association (GBA) has been calling for the substantive appointments of acting Chancellor Justice Cummings-Edwards and acting Chief Justice, Justice Roxane George.However, the Head of State had previously dismissed these calls, saying he went through the constitutional process and recommended a candidate.Meanwhile last month, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Justice Adrian Saunders, said this current impasse has implications for the proper running of the Guyana courts as he calls on Guyana’s ‘political directorates’ to urgently resolve their issues and appoint the top judicial officers.“Guyana has not had a Chancellor for 13 years since Chancellor [Desiree] Bernard demitted office to become a Judge of the CCJ. Since then there have been persons acting in that position… We are outsiders to Guyana’s political systems, but we are entitled to express views we have that directly concerns the administration of justice. But ultimately, it’s a matter for the Guyana Political Directorate and I just wish that steps be taken to resolve those issues,” the newly appointed CCJ President asserted.Cognisant of the current constitutional requirements in making such appointments here, Justice Saunders posited that Guyanese authorities may want to revisit this procedure.“That formula is likely to throw up this kind of situation and so perhaps some attention should be given to perhaps whether that is an appropriate formula or if the formula is to be kept, what other mechanisms should be put in place to break a deadlock. But for the country to not have a chancellor, and it has implications for the Chief Justice as well because it just cascades down for that length of time, it’s just not right,” he posited, while noting, however, that it is not his place to say what measures should be put in place to break the deadlock.
It was a major embarrassment for Argentina and raises questions about their ability to claim football’s biggest prize for the first time since 1986.As Diego Maradona looked on at Moscow’s Spartak stadium, Messi also failed to respond to his rival Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick for Portugal against Spain a day earlier.Messi is yet to win a major international tournament and time is running out with his 31st birthday looming.While the result was not on the scale of that Iceland produced to eliminate England from Euro 2016, it was a major boost for the tiny nation, who retain hopes of advancing from a group that also includes Nigeria and Croatia.The island nation of 330,000 is the smallest country to ever qualify for the finals but emphatically showed they can mix it with the heavyweights.Lionel MessiIn front of a raucous crowd at the 45,000-capacity venue, Iceland launched into some early physical challenges and rattled Argentina.They hit on the counter and gave Argentina a scare when Bjorn Sigurdarson pounced on a loose ball only to rifle his shot just wide of the post.Aguero settled Argentine nerves in the 19th minute when he latched onto Marcos Rojo’s pass in the box, turned and hammered home with his left foot.True to form, Iceland fought back and Finnbogason netted the equaliser four minutes later, pouncing when Argentine keeper Wilfredo Caballero parried away Gylfi Sigurdsson’s shot for a classic poacher’s goal.Argentina continued to press but Messi was subdued in the face of muscular Icelandic defence and the teams went into the break on even terms.Messi looked furious as he led his team out for the second half but the Argentines still struggled to dominate.They appeared to have secured a breakthrough when Polish referee Szymon Marciniak pointed to the spot after Rurik Gislason brought Maximiliano Meza down in the 63rd minute.Messi stepped up for the kick but Hannes Halldorsson guessed correctly and palmed away the Argentine skipper’s side-footed effort.His free-kick in the final moments of the game was deflected off the Iceland wall and the Barcelona talisman trudged off the pitch dejected.Argentina must regroup before facing Croatia on Nizhny Novgorod on June 21, while Iceland face Nigeria in Volgograd on June 22.0Shares0000(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Argentina’s Lionel Messi reacts after his penalty was saved during the match against Iceland in Moscow© AFP Mladen ANTONOVMOSCOW, Russia, June 16 – Argentina were held to a draw by World Cup debutants Iceland Saturday, with Lionel Messi blowing a gilt-edged opportunity for victory when he missed a penalty.Sergio Aguero scored an eye-catching opener for the two-time world champions in the 19th minute but it was almost immediately cancelled out by Alfred Finnbogason, whose team then held on in the face of immense pressure.
Sepp Blatter has been ordered by doctors to take five days off work after having a medical evaluation for stress.The 79-year-old, currently suspended from his role as FIFA president, consulted a doctor after feeling unwell, and although no underlying problem was discovered he has been ordered to rest.His personal adviser Klaus Stohlker told Press Association Sport: “He has been told to rest for the next five days. It is nothing dramatic, he has not been to hospital. I’ve spoken to him today and he says he will be back in his private office on Thursday.”Stohlker said that Blatter had been forced to cancel an interview with Swiss television that was planned for next week. Sepp Blatter 1
Dylan Murray is a magician from Burtonport. The reigning winner of Derry’s Got Talent, Dylan has been flat out doing gigs over the summer holidays.This young Donegal Dynamo is set for big things as his videos get tens of thousands of views! His most popular trick, ‘Elvis has left the building’, has over 40,000 views on Facebook! We’re positive there are many huge things to come for this illusionist extraordinaire!This is Dylan’s Donegal… (1) What is your favourite place in Donegal and why?My favourite place in Donegal would have to be Arranmore Island. My grandad, the late Pádraig Murray was from the island so it’s a place very dear to my heart.(2) If you could change one thing about Donegal what would it be?I wouldn’t change a thing.(3) Who is the one person in Donegal that you look up to and why?That would be my uncle Josie Murray. He is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Champion who won eight gold medals, four silver, and one bronze! And also is an eight time All Ireland Rock and Roll Dancing Champion.(4) Daniel O’Donnell or Packie Bonner?Daniel O’Donnell! But they are both great ambassadors for our county.(5) What has been Donegal’s proudest moment in recent years?Our proudest moment would have to be winning the Sam MaGuire back in 2012 with Jim McGuinness’ team.(6) What was Donegal’s saddest moment?The saddest moment in my opinion would have to be the Arranmore Boat Disaster back in 1935 where nineteen people lost their lives – seven of those were relations of my family. There was one survivor.(7) What is your favourite Donegal-made product?Doherty’s meats(8) Who is Donegal’s greatest ambassador around the world and why?Jim McGuinness is the greatest ambassador in my opinion. He encourages and motivates people to believe in themselves and be the best they can be!(9) Who is Donegal’s most successful businessperson in your opinion?It would have to be the late Jim White who was an excellent business man and owner of several hotels, including The Abbey Hotel.(10) Who is your favourite Donegal sportsperson of all time?Anthony Molloy who was captain of the 1992 winning Donegal side who won the Sam MaGuire.(11) What is your favourite Donegal restaurant?My favourite restaurant is the Silver Tassie, Letterkenny. (12) Donegal’s golden eagles or basking sharks?Golden eagles(13) What is your favourite Donegal saying or expression?What’s the craic?(14) Will Donegal win the All Ireland next year?No(15) What is your favourite Donegal food?Donegal ham (16) Is there anything that really annoys you about Donegal or its people?The only thing would be the weather.(17) What’s your favourite part of magic?My favourite part of magic is creating the sense of mystery and wonder in people’s minds! “People believe that the greatest trick a magician can do is to convince the world that the impossible is real, but when the magic is real yet seems impossible – that’s the greatest trick of all”.(18) Who is your favourite magician and why?There are loads of magicians and entertainers that I look up to. The likes of Dynamo, David Blaine, and Harry Houdini. My favourite of all time has to be David Copperfield! He has created some of the world’s greatest illusions and effects. I believe he is one of the greatest of all time.(19) Is there anything in particular that inspired you to refine your skills as a magician?My love for magic started at a very young age. I was fascinated with the art of misdirection and mystery! So, I started teaching myself how to perform these effects! And since then I’m completely self taught. “It all started with a deck of cards and a dream”. Since that, I have won Northern Ireland’s biggest talent competition, Derry’s Got Talent, in Granny Annie’s, and it’s been amazing!(20) Is there anything about Donegal that you are very proud of?I’m very proud to be from Donegal. It has the most beautiful scenery and beaches you could find. Donegal, without doubt,is the best county, and the most beautiful county in Ireland.To keep up with Dylan and to see his many other amazing magic tricks you can find him on Facebook.My Donegal… with magician Dylan Murray was last modified: August 15th, 2016 by Elaine McCalligShare 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:Derry’s Got TalentDylan MurrayMagicMagicianMY DONEGALtricks
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PASADENA – All Saints Church will fight to keep its tax-exempt status in light of an IRS investigation into a politically charged sermon, Rector Ed Bacon said Monday.Bacon said the church learned of the investigation in June, and he made it public in services Sunday because the Internal Revenue Service appears to be close to a decision on the matter. The investigation was triggered by an allegedly politically partisan sermon delivered by Rector Emeritus George Regas before the 2004 presidential election. While many churches deal with politics in general from the pulpit, they are enjoined from making endorsements if they wish to stay tax-free.All Saints leaders say they are well aware of those rules and have never made any political endorsements.The IRS notified All Saints of the investigation in a letter that cited an Oct. 31, 2004, sermon by Regas called “If Jesus Debated Senator Kerry and President Bush.” Church leaders say they have done nothing wrong and the IRS action threatens freedom of speech and religion for all Americans. “There’s much more at stake than All Saints in this” investigation, said Bacon, contacted by phone in New Jersey. “I think it’s a defining moment about religious freedom in the United States.”Every faith community has the freedom and responsibility under the Constitution to express its “core moral values” and use them to critique those in office, Bacon said. “I have some real concerns about what’s happening in our country when a church like ours gets this kind of attention from the federal government,” Bacon said.IRS officials would not confirm the investigation because of what they called confidentiality concerns during an ongoing probe.Investigations such as the one involving All Saints are rare. An IRS statement says about 100 churches or nonprofits were reviewed for allegedly improper political intervention in the first half of 2004. Regas’ sermon speculated about what Jesus would say to Bush and Kerry on subjects including poverty, violence and war. In his introduction, Regas said he did not intend to tell people how to vote, and that “good people of profound faith will be for either George Bush or John Kerry for reasons deeply rooted in their faith.”In parts of the sermon, Regas envisioned Jesus confronting both candidates: “I will tell you what I think of your war ? the sin at the heart of this war against Iraq is the belief that an American life is of more value than an Iraqi life.”In several cases, Regas also imagined the words Jesus would have for Bush: “Mr. President, your doctrine of a preemptive war is a failed doctrine. Forcibly changing the regime of an enemy that posed no imminent threat has led to disaster.”Church officials said they do not know if someone filed a specific complaint that initiated the investigation. firstname.lastname@example.org.(626) 578-6300, Ext. 4461