Peyton Manning was more than just a superstar in Indiana; he was an inspiration for baby names. Manning comes back to Indianapolis this weekend when his Denver Broncos play the Colts on Sunday. And there will be a whole lot of new Peytons watching.Manning spent 14 seasons at quarterback for the Colts, from 1998 through 2011, and led the team to a Super Bowl win after the 2006 season. Now, more kids named Peyton are coming through the high school football pipeline, as Greg Garber, who writes for our friends at ESPN.com, explained Friday.But how big exactly was the Peyton baby boom in Indiana? 1,740, by our estimate. That’s how many more Peytons (both boys and girls) were born during Manning’s run above and beyond what one would expect based on the number born before his arrival. From 1994 to 1997, 50 babies on average were named Peyton each year in Indiana, according to Social Security Administration data on baby names by state. But that jumped to an average of 175 per year from 1998 through 20111We’re counting 1998 even though it was Manning’s rookie season, because he was drafted that spring. (it’s 174.5, to be exact). So that’s an excess of about 125 Peytons per year, over 14 years, or roughly 1,740 total Peytons.But, of course, this is a whimsical exercise and doesn’t take into account that the Peyton boom was a national one. Peyton became a more popular name across the country at that same time and at basically the same rate (a 241 percent increase nationally vs. a 247 percent rise in Indiana). This obviously suggests that Peyton Manning, titan of football, was an inspiration to expectant parents across the country.These days, there’s a new star quarterback for the Colts: Andrew Luck. Unfortunately, we don’t have a big enough sample size to see whether there has been an Andrew baby boom in Indiana. It’s a great name, though.
LSU’s Ben Simmons is a ludicrously versatile basketball prodigy whose freshman numbers already compare favorably with greats of the past. He’ll probably go first overall in this summer’s NBA draft, and deservedly so. But for all of Simmons’s brilliance, his Tigers aren’t very good — they rank 75th in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings, and at 18-12 they’re a long shot to make the NCAA Tournament.This pairing of an exceptional individual and an unremarkable team is pretty rare. When a team has a prospect as good as Simmons, it doesn’t usually lose before the second weekend of the tourney, much less miss the field entirely. To measure this, I gathered ESPN’s prospect rankings for collegiate players from 2001 through last season, tracking how far their teams went in the postseason during their final NCAA season. Among top-five prospects in that span — and Simmons ranks No. 1 this year — 87 percent were on teams that made the NCAA Tournament, with about half going as far as the Elite Eight before losing. The rest of the No. 1s went far — and I mean really far. Half went to the Final Four, and a third went to the national title game. They didn’t do it alone, though. Shane Battier, Anthony Davis and Greg Oden, for instance, generated almost exactly 25 percent of their teams’ win shares when they blazed a path to the championship game. Simmons has been a bit less productive than that trio on a per-minute basis, but he’s also generated 33 percent of LSU’s win shares this season, with his teammates creating roughly 45 percent fewer wins per game than those of Battier, Davis and Oden. If Simmons had anything close to their supporting casts, LSU probably wouldn’t be fretting about Selection Sunday.Instead, we’ll probably be left with a March Madness that doesn’t feature the nation’s best NBA prospect. That isn’t unprecedented, but it is pretty rare — and, mainly, it’s a bummer because Simmons is such an electrifying all-around talent in a sport that needs all the excitement it can get. The crew of prospects Simmons will join if LSU fails to make the tournament isn’t exactly bad — even Steph Curry ended his Davidson career in the NIT, after all. (Granted, Davidson in the Southern Conference and LSU in the Southeastern Conference are apples and oranges; perhaps a better comp for Simmons is Chris Bosh, who couldn’t elevate Georgia Tech into the tournament out of the ACC in 2002-03.) But the distribution of basketball talent is steep. Top draft picks are, on average, so much better than their peers that a No. 1-ranked prospect should probably be held to a higher standard than the rest of the top five.And, sure enough, in the 15 years before Simmons only one No. 1 prospect was on a team that missed the NCAA Tournament: Nerlens Noel, in 2012-13. The other 92 percent of No. 1s at least got to the round of 64, and even Noel’s case comes with a huge asterisk. Before Noel was lost for the season with a knee injury, his Kentucky team was on the bubble at 17-6, but improving; afterward, the Wildcats closed out the season 4-5 and stamped a nonrefundable ticket to the NIT.
Last summer, when it was time for bookmakers to release the odds on the upcoming NHL season, the expansion Vegas Golden Knights were an afterthought. According to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, they had the worst chance to win the Stanley Cup of any team in hockey, at 200-1. How long are those odds? The Cleveland Browns, who are perennially terrible, currently have much better odds (100-1) to win the 2019 Super Bowl.Congratulations to you, then, if you put a few bucks on Vegas at the beginning of the season: All the Knights have done since is finish the regular season with the fifth most points in the NHL, then sprint through the Western Conference playoffs while losing just three games. That torrid run has landed them a spot in the Stanley Cup final — and opened up comparisons with other unlikely Cinderellas. For us, the one that immediately sprang to mind was Leicester City’s unlikely run to the English Premier League title in 2015-16, which also stunned pundits and bookmakers. But which was truly the more impressive feat?Let’s get one thing out of the way early on: The Golden Knights aren’t your average expansion team. In fact, we published a piece way back in October in praise of their expansion roster. We didn’t think they’d win the Stanley Cup — though we were cautious not to entirely discount the upstart desert dwellers — but we also didn’t think they’d be as bad as others in sports media figured they’d be. In terms of goals versus threshold (GVT) statistics,1GVT was developed by Tom Awad of Hockey Prospectus and is similar to baseball’s VORP, in that it seeks to determine a player’s value in goals above what a replacement player would contribute. the Golden Knights had the most talent of any expansion team that joined the NHL since 1991.The Golden Knights managed to nab some key pieces in the expansion draft — a former 40-goal scorer plus several former 25-goal scorers and a Stanley Cup-winning goalie who’d been drafted No. 1 overall and was once considered a cornerstone to one of the decade’s most successful franchises. Even then, instant success for Vegas looked unlikely: Since 1991, the average expansion team had only managed to collect 57 points in its inaugural NHL season. But Vegas ended up blowing away those expectations en route to the best expansion season in the history of North American pro sports.Like the Golden Knights, Leicester faced long odds at the beginning of its championship-winning campaign. Infamously, the sportsbook Ladbrokes offered 5,000-1 odds against Leicester winning the EPL title. That number, which was bandied about constantly in the wake of the Foxes’ surprise championship, was probably a sham, set to entice people to place any bets on Leicester at all. The notion of any team having such long odds in a 20-team league is a bit absurd, even by the parity-hating standards of European soccer. To put 5,000-1 in perspective, consider this: Texas Southern’s odds of winning the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball tournament — as a No. 16 seed that had to first get past a play-in game, then rattle off six straight wins over major schools — were only 1,000-1 this past March.The “real” odds of Leicester’s victory were staggering enough, though. Leicester had to play near-perfect soccer for the final two and a half months of the 2014-15 season just to avoid relegation.2The Foxes wound up finishing 14th. According to our Soccer Power Index (SPI), Leicester City was the 12th-best team in England entering the 2015-16 Premier League season. Preseason odds for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons indicate that the 12th-best team in the league would have roughly 465-1 odds to win the Premier League. That may not be 5,000-1 long, but it’s quite long by North American standards. (See Browns, Cleveland, above.)Though there was an argument that Leicester City’s odds should have been even longer, the greater consensus is that bookmakers grossly underestimated the Foxes. (And the bookmakers have admitted as much.) After their championship, at the beginning of the 2016-17 season, Leicester City found itself as the 13th highest valued team in the Premier League according to TransferMarkt, a website that assesses the talent value of each club-soccer player and team.3At the beginning of the 2015-16 season, Leicester was the 19th highest valued team in the Premier League via TransferMarkt, which probably dramatically underrated the team’s roster. But even the 19th-best team in the EPL has roughly 2,400-1 odds on average, according to the FiveThirtyEight model. So no matter how you slice it, those 5,000-1 odds were much too long. Leicester was never the best team in England, even when it won the Premier League crown, but it wasn’t the worst team in the EPL, either. Sure, the league title was improbable — but it probably wasn’t 5,000-1 improbable. That’s why the 465-1 number above seems about right in retrospect.(Here’s more evidence that Leicester City eventually settled into a tier befitting its true talent level: In the two seasons since winning the Premier League title, the Foxes have finished 12th and ninth, respectively. That might look disappointing when compared with their extraordinary 2015-16 season, but it also makes perfect sense when viewed through the lens of the team’s transfer-market value and other metrics.)In the case of Vegas, the Golden Knights’ long odds were certainly influenced by the fact that they were an expansion team — conventional wisdom assumed it was inconceivable that an expansion team stocked with hockey men who’d never played together could win the Stanley Cup. But Vegas’s odds also fall short in comparison with Leicester’s because an improbable championship run is slightly easier in the NHL than the EPL. Hockey has a salary cap to promote balance; soccer teams spend money like it’s going out of style. Hockey’s standings have a wacky loser point to introduce needless confusion; soccer’s table is cold and uncompromising. Hockey’s playoffs are a crapshoot; soccer doesn’t even bother to have playoffs.Of course, like Leicester, Vegas also might return to earth next season. There’s no question that forward William Karlsson has been a revelation,4Part of this must be because he’s played about 42 percent more minutes per game in Vegas than he did the previous season in Columbus, and also that he’s been tasked with more offensive zone responsibility. but his shooting percentage is bound to regress, which means he’s probably not going to be a back-to-back 40 goal scorer. Likewise, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is having by far the best postseason of his career, and one of the best postseasons in NHL history — a feat he’s unlikely to replicate next season. When Leicester City won the Premier League, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez each had the best seasons of their respective Premier League careers. And while each player has been very good since, neither has managed to produce the numbers he did during that magical championship run. The Knights have their share of players who fit the same description.But whether they’ll be good again next year doesn’t matter much to Vegas right now: They’ve already made history as the first NHL expansion team to make a championship series in 50 years. And though the 1967-68 St. Louis Blues did indeed make the Stanley Cup final in their first NHL season, they did so by winning a six-team conference stocked exclusively with other teams playing their first NHL season. The Golden Knights had to navigate a notoriously difficult Western Conference playoff stocked with established NHL franchises. Now, they are just four wins away from becoming the only NHL expansion team to win a Stanley Cup in their inaugural season.Maybe Karlsson only scores 27 goals next year. Maybe Fleury transforms back into the inconsistent goalie we saw in Pittsburgh. If they do so for the defending Stanley Cup champions, though, it’s a safe bet that no one in Las Vegas will care.
And while that could just be a fluky bad game from Neymar, Brazil has reason to worry. The draw against Switzerland was Neymar’s first match back from injury, and before the game, Brazilian coach Tite said Neymar was not fully fit. Brazil struggled to break down Switzerland because, time and again, its attack waited for Neymar to beat a defender, and he couldn’t do it.Unlike Argentina, however, Brazil already has the players to lean on while Neymar works himself back into shape. Coutinho and Marcelo are elite passers, while Willian adds about 3.5 complete dribbles per 90 minutes, 12th highest among players in the big five leagues with at least 2000 minutes played. None of them alone can do what Neymar usually does, but Brazil’s starting lineup as a collective can carry some of Neymar’s workload. What will be required for Brazil, rather, is that the team rebalance the attacking load until its superstar is fully fit. Brazil has the talent to continue to roll without Neymar at 100 percent, if it can limit his responsibilities.All of these teams remain favored to escape their groups. But a shocking early exit is possible for Germany and Argentina if they cannot solve some major problems. Brazil should be able to continue and succeed without Neymar at his best, at least for a while. But to reach or win the final, all three teams must make important changes.Check out our latest World Cup predictions. The World Cup has been full of surprises. Of the five teams rated most likely to win the World Cup before the tournament by FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index, only France won its first match. Spain, Argentina and Brazil could manage only draws, and worse yet, Germany lost to Mexico. While Spain’s 3-3 draw against Portugal can be excused — Cristiano Ronaldo’s team is rated the eighth-best side in the tournament and has legitimate hopes of winning the whole thing — the other three face larger problems.Germany’s difficulty may be the most acute. While Argentina and Brazil saw their chances of reaching the knockout round go down only slightly (77 percent to 68 percent for Argentina and 89 percent to 85 percent for Brazil), Germany is suddenly at risk of being the third consecutive defending World Cup champion to go out in the group stages. Die Mannschaft’s odds of reaching the round of 16 plummeted from 90 percent to 64 percent.Germany can’t say the loss was undeserved. Mexico created more expected goals, a statistical estimate of the quality of scoring chances, than Germany did, with the Mexican counterattack ripping up the German defense even when it did not create shots. Eight times in the match, Mexican players combined to move the ball straight through midfield — with more than 50 percent of ball movement directly toward the goal — and into the German penalty area. Though only four of those ended in shots, one produced a goal.That Hirving Lozano game-winning goal was the most devastating example of this counterattack. It starts with an open-play turnover, leading to a few quick passes and runs, a couple of defenders beaten on the dribble and a pass into the penalty area. The map below shows the Lozano goal and three other moves like it. If Mexico had been more clinical in creating good shots from these moves, the result could have been even worse for Germany. So what can Germany do? Only with better counterpressing from the forward line and midfield — to prevent opponents from striding through the center of the pitch with ease as Mexico did — can Germany regain its defensive strength. Coach Joachim Low started only two central midfielders, Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira, in order to get playmakers Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller into the lineup behind a central striker. A personnel shift that adds another central midfielder to the mix while dropping an advanced creator seems like the obvious next step. Of course, this isn’t as easy as just scribbling a new name on the lineup sheet. Player positions and relationships will have to be reconsidered and restructured. Mexico exposed Low’s first lineup, and now he needs to identify a backup plan and get his players ready to go with it in just a few days. The task is great.A similar tactical problem looms for Argentina. While La Albiceleste did not see its chance of advancing go down by a large margin, it was in trouble from the moment it was placed in a group full of such capable defensive sides as Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria. With a 32 percent chance of being eliminated before the knockouts, Argentina should be worried.And what went wrong against Iceland does not seem easy to solve. Argentina attempted 26 shots against Iceland but generated only about 1.1 expected goals, a rate of about 0.04 expected goals per shot. The only teams in the tournament that have created lower-quality shooting chances are Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.You would expect a team with Lionel Messi to be creating good scoring chances. But Argentina has a problem: Messi is tasked with bringing the ball forward from defense to attack. If Messi must pick up the ball in deep areas, who will make the pass or run near the penalty area to break open the defense? According to the statistical company Impect, which tracks whether passes took a team beyond an opposition defensive player, Argentina’s passes only bypassed a defender 23 times, the fourth-fewest of any team in the World Cup through the first four days.At the same time, Iceland created about 0.9 expected goals on eight shot attempts, a rate of 0.11 expected goals per shot,1Ninth-highest in the tournament so far, only slightly behind Mexico’s 0.13. showing that Iceland was able to create good scoring opportunities despite Argentina’s conservative approach. If Argentina’s defense can be exploited like this, it’s hard to suggest that coach Jorge Sampaoli should bring on a more attack-minded midfielder like Ever Banega and risk opening up further at the back. A counterpress could also work, but Argentina already tried that. Sampaoli drilled his players to press high up the field and seek to create turnovers that could give them new possession in advanced areas, but the team’s middling results and underlying numbers from qualifying suggest that has not worked either. It may be that the only real solution is hoping that Messi puts together a truly legendary tournament and covers both creative roles, advancing the ball through the midfield and beating the defenders.By contrast, Brazil’s exceptionally talented roster should not have to depend on one player. But against Switzerland, it did. Although its goal came from a brilliant individual finish by Philippe Coutinho, in general, Brazil tried to ride Neymar to victory. The creative winger was constantly on the ball and, more than that, constantly tasked with beating a man to create space for the attack to move forward. Eighteen times Neymar was involved in a one-on-one with a defender. This is high even for Neymar, who averaged about 10 one-on-ones per match for Paris Saint-Germain. But while Neymar was successful about 60 percent of the time in the French league, here he struggled, winning only five of 18 contests. Switzerland consistently bodied and often fouled Neymar, leaving him unable to progress the ball as he usually does.
The last time the Ohio State men’s tennis team lost a home match, President George W. Bush was serving his first term in office, the average gas price per gallon in Ohio was $1.49 and Mark Zuckerberg was more than six months away from first imagining Facebook in his Harvard dorm room. The No. 8 Buckeyes (14-2 overall, 1-0 conference) are currently in the midst of a 160-game home win streak, the longest ever recorded in any of the active NCAA Division 1-A sports. The win streak dates back to April 5, 2003, when the Scarlet and Gray dropped a 5-2 home match against conference rival Illinois. Since then, the Buckeyes have emerged victorious against every team to visit Columbus. This season, with only four home matches before the team’s historic win streak reaches its 10-year anniversary, players and coaches said they are hoping to get to celebrate the milestone. “Obviously you want to get to 10 years (without a home loss) because you’re close. When I’m done coaching and the players are done playing, it’s something in your bag of tricks that lots of people don’t have,” said coach Ty Tucker, who has led the Buckeyes since the 1999 season. Tucker credited the team’s ability to consistently win with a variety of different players as what he is most proud of about the streak. “The fact that you’ve won the matches is a proud thing, but to be able to do it with so many different parts – in college athletics, every four years you’re with new guys, and you lose guys to graduation, and people coming in and being able to keep the tradition going (is great),” Tucker said. Tucker also said the strength of schedule during the span of home matches has made the win streak even more memorable. “It’s not like we’ve been playing a ton of easy matches. We play some good teams at home and have beaten many top 10 teams at home during the win streak, so that’s pretty pleasing to me,” he said. Some members of the team said that the win streak has drastically improved the playing environment of matches that take place in Columbus. “When I first got here, we didn’t have that good of crowds, but now we’re getting 300 to 400 people a match, which for college tennis is huge,” said redshirt senior Devin McCarthy. “When we play on the road, for instance at Penn State, they maybe had 20 people at a match. When we come out here and we have a home crowd and you win a big point, it’s not just your teammates – you’ve a got a whole crowd cheering for you. It’s a really big difference.” In addition to improving home attendance, redshirt junior Peter Kobelt said the streak carries a strong “intimidation” factor. “It’s a little bit of intimidation right from the beginning – other teams not believing they can beat us (at home) because of our success here. It’s definitely a confidence booster because we practice (in Columbus) every day and we’re really comfortable in this building, and we expect to play well when we’re here,” Kobelt said. Kobelt also said the intimidation factor brought on by the streak will benefit OSU when the Big Ten Championships are played in Columbus in April. “I think we are going to try and get a really big crowd out (to the tournament) and recognize the streak that Ty (Tucker) has put together,” he said. Tucker and his squad, who try not to acknowledge the streak often, admit that keeping the looming number off of their minds is not always easy. “We don’t talk about it that much, because obviously we don’t want to jinx it. But in the back of our heads, I think everyone knows that we don’t want to be the team that loses it,” McCarthy said. Younger players such as redshirt sophomore Hunter Callahan are especially eager to defend the win streak and attempt to graduate without suffering a home loss. “It’s definitely a big factor in our practice, because we want to practice hard to keep the streak alive,” Callahan said. If the Buckeyes hope to reach a 164-game win streak and 10 years unbeaten at home, they will have to secure key victories at home against Louisville, Purdue, Indiana and Wisconsin. Ultimately, Tucker said he would mostly remember the people that contributed to the program’s success and not just a number in a record book. “What’s special is good assistant coaches and very good tennis players,” he said. “Guys that have bought into the fact that you can’t take anything for granted.”
A man who appeared on Benefits Street has been found dead on the street where the Channel 4 show was filmed.Lee Nutley, who featured in the second series of the reality show, was pronounced dead by ambulance service staff at a house on Kingston Road, in Stockton on Monday.A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “Police were called to an address on Kingston Road, Stockton, by ambulance service colleagues at around 5.40pm last night.”A man in his 40s was sadly pronounced deceased at the scene and there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances. A file will therefore be prepared for the coroner.” Lee NutleyCredit:XPOSUREPHOTOS.COM/XPOSUREPHOTOS.COM Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. A spokeswoman for North East Ambulance Service added: “I can confirm we were called to the Kingston Road area at 5.30pm yesterday and we despatched two services.”Mr Nutley was one of the residents of the street followed by cameras for the controversial documentary show.In his biography on the Channel 4 website before the series aired last year, it said: “Lee relies on his next-door neighbour Julie and the other residents of Kingston Road more than ever. With every appliance in his home broken he can’t even cook himself a meal.”Lee has been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for the past year, living on £45 a week after being laid off by the construction company he worked for.”Now Lee finds himself in a constant battle with both ill health and the benefits system.”He has been ‘sanctioned’ for missing an appointment, a new government policy designed to encourage people off of benefits. He denies missing the appointment but his benefits have been cut anyway.”He says: ‘I’ve worked half my life, I’ve haven’t just sat on my a— since leaving school, I’ve worked all over the country. I need to earn some dollars, it’s no good walking the streets and that, I like work’.”
Murdo Fraser, for the Scottish Tories, expressed surprise that the SNP’s regular quest to “find grievance” had entered the sweet shop, and offered to buy Mr Beattie some “good Scots chocolate” in the shape of a pack of Tunnock’s tea cakes, which it assured the MSP remained “as delicious and substantial as always”.Scottish Labour said it was surprised by the move as the SNP’s purpose had always been “greater separation”.It also questioned whether event the most sweet-toothed Scottish taxpayer would regarded the SNP MSP’s motion as the best use of parliamentary time and suggested Mr Beattie was “as much use as a chocolate teapot”. @uartlach Mr Beattie my thanks and respect to you for raising the Toblerone issue. Let’s stand strong together during this horrific time! 😢— Jenna Reilly (@Reilly1703) November 16, 2016 The changing shape of the Toblerone chocolate bar has been added to the SNP’s growing list of grievances over the “devastating” effects of Brexit.The Nationalist MSP Colin Beattie has tabled a motion at Holyrood lamenting the new design of the bar, which has seen larger gaps introduced between the chocolate peaks.The controversial move by the makers of the popular treat is, according to politician, no less than “emblematic of the devastating consequences that Brexit could bring”. UK… What have you done??? #Brexit #Toblerone pic.twitter.com/BmrrJWD8sf— Enda Conway (@EndaConway) November 8, 2016 The bizarre motion, entitled Decrease in the Weight of the Toblerone Bar, asks that the Scottish Parliament “notes with concern Mondelez International’s recent decision to widen the gaps between the segments of the iconic Swiss chocolate bar, Toblerone, in the UK; understands that this was made in order to allay rising costs for numerous ingredients; believes that this is emblematic of the devastating consequences that Brexit could bring”.It goes on to suggest Holyrood offers its condolences to those mourning the move and calls on the UK Government to “take speedy action to rectify the change” while also wishing the company “the best possible success with the lighter bar”. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
“Inspired by #Trainspotting2 – I wanted to highlight that Scotland did not choose #Brexit, it chose life, in the EU,” she tweeted.Earlier she told MPs: “I saw Trainspotting 2 recently and it inspired me.“Choose Brexit. Choose making up numbers from thin air about the NHS and plastering them on the side of buses.“Choose racist and xenophobic sentiments seeping out from some corners of the Leave campaign. She added: “Choose the great Brexit power grab, taking back control of straight bananas … Choose the UK turning its back on Europe.” Last night MPs finally voted in favour of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill by 498 votes to 114, with 47 Labour MPs, 50 SNP MPs and seven Liberal Democrats voting against. Inspired by #Trainspotting2 – I wanted to highlight that Scotland did not choose #Brexit, it chose life, in the EU. https://t.co/I9TcpHHOLe— Hannah Bardell MP (@HannahB4LiviMP) February 1, 2017 “Choose hate crime rising over 40% and LGBT hate crime by 150% in England and Wales following the Brexit vote.“Choose taking the people of our nations to the polls on one of the most important issues of a generation with nothing written down and no plan.”“Choose ignoring the interests of the people of Scotland … despite the fact we voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU.” The stars of Trainspotting Credit:PA SNP MP Hannah Bardell’s Brexit speech was inspired by Trainspotting Credit:PA / Twitter Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting was the unlikely source of inspiration for a passionate speech in the Commons debate on the Brexit bill.SNP MP Hannah Bardell paraphrased Marks Renton’s iconic ‘Choose Life’ speech from the 1996 film starring Ewan McGregor to express her concerns about Brexit. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
A subsequent post-mortem examination also revealed that Shanay, who had been sent to live with Morris after her mother, Leanne Walker, suffered post-natal depression, had more than 50 injuries at the time of her death.Yesterday, the inquest heard how Smalley and Shreeves had attempted to escape any criticism by falsifying a safeguarding document that had earlier been lost by Shanay’s teacher – in a “self-serving” act that coroner Mairin Casey said had undermined the child’s safety.The inquest heard that prior to Shanay’s death, Smalley had engaged in a “quite deliberate” policy of appeasement, which saw teachers who raised concerns over her safety “silenced”.In total, 10 individual safeguarding referrals were made about Shanay by other members of staff at the school, but the concerns surrounding the child’s safety were never passed on to the relevant authorities.Ms Casey added that Shanay had attended school on numerous occasions bearing cuts, bruises and even a burn.”It was quite deliberate to have a policy of appeasement towards Kay-Ann Morris over the safety of Shanay and to silence the teachers who knew her best,” Ms Casey said. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. She ordered that agencies, including Ofsted, the General Teaching Council and Nottingham City Council, be made aware of the “gravity” of the two teachers’ failings.Delivering a narrative verdict, Ms Casey told Leanne Walker, Shanay’s mother, who attended the inquest, that her daughter had been the victim of “sustained serious physical and emotional abuse” prior to her death.”During the 48 hours before she died she was subjected to horrific violence resulting in multiple internal and external injuries, dying as a result of an injury to her brain cause by a blunt instrument, which on the balance of probabilities I find was an inflicted non-accidental injury,” she added.Nottingham City Council said further action would be taken after new evidence emerged at the inquest.Southglade Primary School said that safeguarding children was now at the “heart” of the school’s objectives. She added that safeguarding procedures had not been adhered to. A primary school headteacher “fabricated” a letter to cover up internal failings that contributed to the death of seven-year-old Shanay Walker, an inquest has heard.Peter Smalley, the former headmaster at Southglade Primary School, Nottingham, and Laura Shreeves, a learning mentor, “recreated” evidence following Shanay’s death in a bid to deflect attention away from themselves.News of the schoolgirl’s death made national headlines in 2014, after a fatal brain haemorrhage led police to expose the extent of the abuse she had suffered at the hands of her aunt Kay-Ann Morris and grandmother Juanila Smikle, who were jailed for eight and four years respectively for child cruelty. Shanay Walker’s aunt Kay-Ann Morris was jailed for eight year for child cruelty following her death Credit:SWNS
Charlie Gard with the toy monkey his father often carries to court with himCredit:PA “He is not helping us and he is certainly not helping Charlie”, he said. “All he has done is tarnish the reputation of two parents who have been trying to save their son and we are getting a stream of abusive messages because of it.”He claimed that a GOSH allegation that other parents were “harassed” related to a time when Mr Seton-Marsden had asked other “distressed parents” to sign a petition and the family were unaware it was happening at the time. Mr Gard added: “We have always acted in Charlie’s best interests and we have never slated GOSH publicly, in fact we have been grateful to the staff for their care despite some conflicting issues.”All the quotes you read in the media criticising GOSH, have come from him, not us.” A source close to Mr Seton-Marsden maintained that he had always been acting with knowledge of the parents and said that he had never attempted to get anyone to sign a petition in GOSH. A rally in support of Charlie was yesterday held outside the Royal Courts of Justice by the American pro-life lobbyists who have flown to Britain to back the family. Gregory Mertz, from organisation CitizenGO who organised the gathering, said they were hopeful that Charlie would be given residency in the US when the House of Representatives voted on the issue at the beginning of next week. Charlie’s parents, who are in their 30s and come from Bedfont, west London, have already lost battles in the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court in London.They have also failed to persuade European Court of Human Rights judges to intervene.But as they prepared for the last-ditch legal battle, Mr Gard and Miss Yates were caught up in a row over the actions of some people claiming to support their case. Miss Yates said they are “extremely upset by the backlash” they have received since the hospital put out a statement on Saturday night as they only have Charlie’s “best interests at heart”. She added that they had been subjected to “hurtful comments”. She said: “Despite conflicting issues, we have always had the utmost respect for all the staff who work tirelessly at Great Ormond Street Hospital and the very difficult jobs they do every day.“And, like them, we have been shocked by some of the public response to this case and agree with them that it is disgraceful that doctors have received death threats.”Mr Gard used a social media post to distance himself from Mr Seton-Marsden, a former Ukip candidate, writing that he was not a spokesperson for the family and he had put out statements that they had not consented to. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Connie Yates and Chris Gard arriving at the Royal Courts of Justice Credit:PA Mr Gard accused Alasdair Seton-Marsden, who has previously delivered statements on their behalf, of fueling some of the backlash toward the hospital after he claimed that GOSH statement was a “cynical ploy”. The parents will return to the High Court today to try and persuade the judge to allow their 11-month-old son to travel to America for experimental treatment for his rare genetic condition. Mr Justice Francis has warned that he will not re-run any evidence that has already been before the court and he has asked lawyers to prepare a list of what is actually “new material” in the case. He is expected to give a ruling on Tuesday. Show more The parents of Charlie Gard have accused their former spokesman of “tarnishing” their reputation as they revealed that they have received backlash over threats to Great Ormond Street Hospital. Chris Gard and Connie Yates said that they were “extremely upset” after receiving a wave of criticism when GOSH put out a statement confirming that they had called in the police after their staff had been threatened and the parents of other patients “harassed”. The couple condemned anyone attacking staff and said that it was “disgraceful that doctors have received death threats”.
This is the sixth year in a row where top grades have dropped and is the lowest proportion since 2007 when 19.5 per cent of entries got top grades. In an attempt to toughen up GCSEs, a new numerical system uses grades one to nine, rather than from A* to G – with anything above a seven being level to anything above an A in the old system. How the new reforms… There has been a fall in the number of students getting the top grades this year amid changes in the GCSE grading system for three key subjects in England. Some 20 per cent of students across all subjects received an A or 7 and above, down 0.5 percentage points on last year. In 2011, the pass rate for the top grades stood at 23.2 per cent.
A broken cell window at the prison in Liverpool, where guards intercepted more than one drone carrying contraband every weekCredit: HM Inspectorate of Prisons/PA The Chief Inspector of Prisons said there had been ‘abject failure’ at LiverpoolCredit: HM Inspectorate of Prisons/ PA Its chairman Bob Neill said: “This inspectorate’s report is one of the worst I have ever seen.” HM Inspectorate of Prisons has described the ‘squalid’ state of HMP Liverpool, condemning the establishment for having the worst conditions inspectors have seen.In one of its most scathing reports in recent years, the inspectorate described rats, drugs and ‘decrepit’ facilities at the Victorian prison in the city’s Walton area.Drones carrying drugs and other illicit items were described as a ‘substantial problem’, with staff recovering 32 of the gadgets in six months prior to the September inspection – a rate of more than one a week. Concern over the conditions at Liverpool, a category B facility holding 1,115 men at the time of the inspection, first surfaced at the end of last year when details of the report were revealed by the BBC. – Violence of all kinds had increased, with assaults on staff more than tripling compared with the last assessment in 2015.Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke said: “The inspection team was highly experienced and could not recall having seen worse living conditions than those at HMP Liverpool.”Many cells were not fit to be used and should have been decommissioned. I saw piles of rubbish that had clearly been there for a long time, and in which inspectors reported seeing rats on a regular basis.” Mr Clarke raised particular concerns over the case of one vulnerable man with complex mental health needs who was held in a cell that had no furniture other than a bed.”It should not have needed my personal intervention for this man to be moved from such appalling conditions,” he said.The chief inspector concluded there had been an “abject failure” to offer a safe and decent environment at the prison.He added: “This report makes it crystal clear that leaders at all levels, both within the prison and beyond, had presided over the failure to address the concerns raised at the last inspection.”The Commons Justice Committee will hold an evidence session on the findings next week. In a catalogue of critical findings, the assessment said:- Drugs were readily available: nearly two-thirds of inmates in a survey said they were easy to get hold of- Four prisoners had taken their own lives since the previous inspection and two more suspected suicides occurred shortly after the latest visit- Many cells had broken windows with dangerous jagged glass, damp, leaks and broken or blocked toilets- Communal areas were in a ‘decrepit’ state and there was a significant problem with cockroaches and rats throughout the jail Michael Spurr, chief executive of HM Prison and Probation Service, acknowledged the conditions at the prison were “unacceptable”.He said: “We are committed to fixing this, have already made changes where we can, and have today published a comprehensive action plan to address the Chief Inspector’s concerns.”Following the inspection we took immediate action to rectify the situation.” A new governor has been appointed, cleanliness has been improved and a maintenance backlog almost halved, he said.Mr Spurr added: “Liverpool has a dedicated staff who are committed to providing a safe and decent environment for prisoners.”The Ministry of Justice has announced a number of measures to stem the flow of contraband into prisons, including a specialist unit to counter the threat from drones. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Although the wreck is off-limits to tourist divers, the government has allowed fishing rights in the area, which could be causing the reduction in marine life. Since then, he has led two Royal Geographical Society expeditions to the islands. Christopher Lees, an amateur diver whose grandfather Alan was the ship’s radio operator, also joined the team.However, a more recent dive revealed that marine life on the wreck has been depleted and Mr Dover has appealed to the Omani government to prevent human disturbance of the wreck and the marine species that live there. The City of Winchester, pictured, was the first British merchant vessel to be sunk by the German Navy during World War One.Credit:Paul Fearn/Alamy Stock Photo Mr Dover wants to establish a 25-mile ‘No Take Zone’ around the islands, which would ban fishing altogether. Alan Lees, the radio operator of the City of Winchester, whose grandson Christopher joined an expedition to see the wreck. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. An amateur scuba diver who bought a First World War-era British merchant shipwreck for £1 in the 1990s is planning to turn it into a protected area for marine wildlife.Steve Dover discovered the wreck of the merchant ship the City of Winchester while scuba diving off the coast of Oman’s Hallaniyat Islands.The ship was the first British merchant vessel to be sunk during the First World War. Crew members had left before a German light cruiser shelled it in 1914, sending its cargo of tea and antlers to the ocean floor.In 1998, the Omani government agreed to sell the wreck to Mr Dover, allowing him to take expeditions of scuba divers to see the Arabian humpback whales and dolphins that congregated in the man-made reef.“It was the most exciting moment in life, to have found it,” Mr Dover told the BBC. “We were hugging each other, dancing around the prop, the propellor at the bottom of the rudder.”
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Ilfracombe, Decon, where there have been reports of horse fly bitesCredit:Christopher Jones With temperatures reaching up to 30°C following a wet spring, reports of people being bitten by the horseflies are expected to continue to surge as we enter July.Ben Keywood of the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust said: “In the UK this year we are seeing similar levels of horseflies to those found in Eastern European and parts of the Mediterranean. An invasion of biting horse flies are sweeping the country due to the warming weather, wildlife experts have warned.Reports of painful bites across the country have surged after the size of the insect population in Britain has been compared to those in Mediterranean countries.The blood-sucking insects, who thrive under the summer conditions, have even led to people being admitted to hospital to be seen for their bites.After being plagued by so many biting horse flies, the chemist in Ilfracombe, Devon, has ran out of insect cream to treat those affected.One Devon local said: “My partner was bitten last Monday on Hele Beach. He ended up in A&E overnight Tuesday on an antibiotic drip. “So please keep a close eye on the bite and make sure the redness doesn’t start spreading. He was the third person in that night.”Another person said: “Just came back from a fortnight in Ilfracombe and my parents have probably got 20 bites between them.” “The cold winter meant fewer died and now the hot temperatures in spring and early summer mean they are breeding faster and more of the brood are surviving.”Horseflies are more common in rural areas because they reproduce by biting larger mammals and lay their eggs in standing water.Although, local residents in Sheffield , Rotherham , Devon are also among those who have reported suffering from their painful bites that can last weeks.Also known as ‘clegs’ ,these large, big-eyed flies can inflict a painful bite that cuts skin rather than piercing it, often causing swelling and sometimes even infection.Experts have given tips to those who have been bitten, urging them to use insect repellent, and making sure to keep the wound clean and applying a cold compress to it.An NHS spokesman has said: “anyone who has been bitten and is concerned about it should go to their local chemist, who should be able to help them in the first instance.”
Victoria Bull, one of Mrs Potter’s two children from her first marriage, said the day of her mother’s death was one of the hardest of her life as she had to tell her children their grandmother had killed herself.But weeks later, she had to tell them that in fact, she had been killed by the man they regarded as their grandfather.”As a parent, you do everything you can to protect your children – but I could not protect them from this,” she said.The Potters’ daughter Nicole Njegovan, said: “I was four months’ pregnant at the time and I at first I was very sad and angry at my mum thinking that she had left me.”She said she found it very hard to come to terms with her father murdering her mother, adding: “I will forever grieve for her.”Paul Hobson, prosecuting, told Mr Justice Soole: “It is plain, on the day of Lesley Potter’s death the police response was not as it should have been and mistakes were made, either of common sense or procedure or of both.”We know scenes of crimes (officers) attended and took photographs but there was no wider inquiry than that. There was no action by CID and the force medical examiner. Miss Mikhailoea-Kisselevskaia tipped off the police and a “full investigation” was launched, with Mrs Potter’s body taken from the chapel of rest for a post mortem.The court heard that she had several internal injuries, 30 rib fractures and more than 30 bruises over her neck, face, arms, back, legs and feet.Elwen Evans QC, prosecuting, said: “Mr Potter killed his wife by strangling her, using his hands.”He then tried to cover up what he had done by pretending she had suspended herself with a ligature. He almost got away with that pretence.”Potter denied murder and claimed his wife killed herself or could have died while choking herself for sexual pleasure.He claimed Miss Mikhailoea-Kisselevskaia had misunderstood what he told her.But a jury took just one hour and 11 minutes to find him guilty of murder.Jailing Potter for a minimum of 17 years, Mr Justice Michael Soole branded his staged hanging a “shameful and despicable charade” which exposed his wife’s body to “terrible indignity and dishonour”.He added: “It was a ferocious attack. I’m sure than in the moment he strangled your wife that you intended to kill her. You knew what you were doing.” “What happened in this case is something (the police) have been looking at very seriously with a view to making improvements in regard to sudden deaths.”Lesley Potter’s family were told one thing, then another thing some time later. No family should have to deal with that.”South Wales Police said in a statement: “Now that the criminal proceedings are concluded we will consider the comments made and review the initial police response to this tragic death.” Police errors almost allowed a husband to get away with murdering his wife and staging a suicide until he admitted his crime to a woman in a pub.Derek Potter, 64, throttled his wife of 26 years before setting up their bedroom to make it look as though she had killed herself, Swansea Crown Court heard.Officers from South Wales Police failed to spot anything suspicious, treating the mother-of-three’s death, on April 7, as suicide.They accepted Potter’s claims that he had popped out for 15 minutes and returned to their home in Swansea to find his 66-year-old wife dead.Mrs Potter’s body was released for a funeral service with a cremation organised for May 8.But on April 25, Potter went for a drink with fellow builder Natalia Mikhailoea-Kisselevskaia, 32, at his local pub, The George, and told her what he had done.”We were still on our first pints when he said: ‘I have got to tell you something,’” she told the jury.”He said: ‘I love my wife very much but she was doing my head in so I strangled her’.”She added: “He was saying it with a straight face – no tears in his eyes, no laughter. I thought: ‘Oh my God, he’s done it’.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
It said an extra £970 million in police funding is proposed for 2019-20 and that the offensive weapons bill currently before Parliament will introduce new offences to tackle knife crime and acid attacks. “She has not made a single speech about the knife crime epidemic since she became Prime Minister,” she added. “No crisis meetings have been held at Number 10 to demand Ministers give this more focus. Silence from the heart of Government.”The Home Office said it set out a range of actions to tackle violent crime in October including a £200 million youth endowment fund; consulting on a on new legal duty to underpin a public health approach to tackling serious violence, and an independent review of drug misuse. Jodie Chesney, 17, seen here on a Remembrance Day visit to Number 10 Downing Street as girl scout, was killed in an an “unprovoked attack” in Romford this weekend The group represents police forces from across the country, particularly areas most impacted by knife crime. “We’re taking action on many fronts and I’ll be meeting police chiefs this week to hear what more can be done.”It is vital that we unite to stop this senseless violence.”The Home Office said Mr Javid will chair the second chief constables’ round table on Wednesday, aimed at sharing experience and policing strategies for tackling violent crime. Ms Jones warned that the wave of violence was “ripping through our communities, tearing families apart”.She said: “This is nothing less than a national crisis. Children are dying on our streets every week. It is not limited to big cities, even in smaller towns children are arming themselves. This has to stop.“This is a national crisis and nothing less than focused leadership from the very top will solve it.“We need to start from the principle that violence is not inevitable- no child is born with a desire to pick up a knife. The way we prevent it is a cross-government ‘public health’ approach – all departments working together to change the landscape facing young people.”But she claimed Mrs May was “nowhere to be seen.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Sajid Javid has called an urgent meeting of police chiefs amid growing political pressure over the knife crime crisis. The Home Secretary was compelled to call for an end to the “senseless” violence on Sunday after two 17-year-olds were fatally stabbed in apparently random attacks.Jodie Chesney, a Girl Scout, and scholarship pupil Yousef Makki, who wanted to be a heart surgeon, are the latest victims of an explosion of violence that has seen scores die in cities across the country, including three teenagers within a fortnight in Birmingham.Sarah Jones, the Labour MP for Croydon Central and chair of the all-party parliamentary group on knife crime, demanded action from the Government, calling on Theresa May to convene Cobra and to set a six month target to bring knife crime down.She accused the Prime Minister of being “invisible” during what had become a national crisis.Mr Javid said: “Young people are being murdered across the country and it can’t go on.
She said: “No one could foresee the success Bodyguard, but the moment I saw the script for The Capture I knew it had that certain something. It’s a production I would definitely want to watch.”To prepare for the role, she shadowed a young female homicide detective for a week.Ms Grainger will star alongside Callum Turner, who recently appeared in War & Peace and is playing soldier Shaun Emery.The storyline follows the troubles faced by Mr Emery, whose conviction for murder while serving in Afghanistan is overturned due to flawed video evidence.However, his freedom is bried – shortly after he returns to life with his young daughter, damning CCTV footage from a night out in London surfaces and Shaun’s life begins to unravel, forcing him to fight for his freedom once again.D.I Rachel Carey is on his case, and the series follows her discovering the truth. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The lead actress in the BBC’s new police thriller – billed as the “new Bodyguard” – said she only agreed to do a sex scene in the opening episode because the director asked for her opinion first.Holliday Grainger is set to take the main role in “The Capture”, a six-part surveillance thriller which begins next month.The show will tell the story of an innocent man falsely accused in the ‘post-truth’ era.Ms Grainger, who has chiefly appeared in period dramas, told the Mail on Sunday: “There’s a bedroom scene at the beginning of The Capture, and part of me was thinking, ‘Oh here we go, are we really going to introduce my female character with a sex scene?’ “I’d normally put my foot down and say, ‘I’m not getting naked in the first episode.’ But the fact that Ben [Chanan, writer-director] wanted my opinion is a sign of positive change.”It’s significant that he came to me and said, ‘Is it too much?’ Pre-#MeToo we might not have even been having that conversation.”The 31-year-old, who is playing Detective Inspector Rachel Carey, thinks the show will be as gripping as “Bodyguard”, the popular BBC show which fascinated the nation last year.
By: Kizzy ColemanA mother is now in a state of distress after her 8-year-old daughter who was reportedly kidnapped from her school has been missing for over a week.Missing: Annelie HoyteThe girl, Annelie Hoyte, a resident of Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo (EBE) and of the Tuschen Primary School was abducted at around 09:00hrs on Wednesday last in front of her school.According to reports, the child had just arrived at her school and was about to enter the compound when she was grabbed from behind by a man and placed in a parked dark coloured car which then sped away.Students outside of the school who witnessed the incident quickly reported what transpired to a teacher who made contact with the child’s mother, Alisha Marcus.Speaking with this publication, Marcus disclosed that her husband died just over two months ago and ever since, his mother who resides overseas has allegedly been attempting to take her daughter from her.Marcus reported that in making efforts to do so, the woman made contact with the welfare office in Guyana and made claims of her (Marcus) being an unfit mother.The angered woman and mother to two other children relayed that an investigation was carried out by a group of welfare officers.“The claims she and her relatives made against me were found to be false and Annelie was placed back in my care” Marcus disclosed.Speculating that her daughter could have been kidnapped by her own grandmother with assistance from other relatives of her dead husband, Marcus made a plea for Annelie to be given back to her.The distraught mother explained that she made contact with Annelie’s grandmother who however, denied that she was involved.The child was last seen wearing her school’s uniform.A report of the incident has been made to the Leonora Police Station and directly to Commander Leslie James who, this publication was informed, has since launched an investigation. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related”Kidnapped” child found with father’s relatives, in state custodyFebruary 14, 2018In “Crime”Kidnapped 5 – Year – old spotted in Berbice with motherSeptember 19, 2014In “Crime”Teen mother, baby reported missingDecember 17, 2014In “Local News”
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedSARA officials earning $$$M a month in salary, benefitsDecember 11, 2018In “latest news”Over $100M in supplementary funding approved for SARA under Legal AffairsAugust 3, 2017In “latest news”LETTER: SARA is disqualified by any standard from being a professional investigative unitJune 7, 2019In “latest news” Below is an opinion piece by Attorney-at-Law, Member of Parliament and former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil NandlallThe incompetence which permeates every sector of this Government is simply unparalleled in the English speaking Caribbean. It is as if they can get nothing right. Let us examine the State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA), as an example.The SARA, after a long hibernation, is back in the news. Earlier this week, it was disclosed that SARA would be laying charges in relation to 25 cases within the next month. This disclosure came from Mr. Aubrey Heath-Retemyer, who is described in the press as the “Deputy Director” of the Agency. Although the SARA Act came into force since the 11th day of May, 2017, SARA remains mired in deep controversy. The serious questions, which were raised even before the Bill was tabled in the National Assembly by a wide cross section of society, including, the Parliamentary Opposition, to date, remain unanswered. Rather than clarify these important issues which have been highlighted, the Government chose to ignore them and proceeded to activate SARA.Expectedly, within one month of its enactment, legal proceedings were launched challenging the constitutionality of several of the provisions of the controversial SARA Bill (now Act). These proceedings are still pending in the Constitutional Division of the High Court. If this challenge is 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. If any reliance will be placed upon the Attorney General, Basil Williams, to advise, the nation can be reasonably certain of the consequences.Transitionary provisionMost importantly, the persons who currently hold the position of Director and Deputy Director of the agency, Professor Clive Thomas and Mr. 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 utilized to finance them. These persons 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, although the Act is in force for over a year. 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.Section 106 of the Act is a transitionary provision: it provides for the Head of the State Asset Recovery Unit (SARU) to continue to act as the Head of SARA, but for not more than four months after the SARA Act comes into force. The SARA Act, as I indicated, 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. How can these two gentlemen, who are holding these offices illegally, lecture to this nation about illegality and entrusted with the responsibility of investigating and curbing illegality?The other significant issue, which contaminates these two office holder, is their known and professed political connections. Professor Thomas is a leader of the WPA, one of the political parties in the Coalition Government. He is a renowned politician infected with political biases and prejudices. For the same reasons that I cannot be a Judge of the Supreme Court he cannot be the head of a Law Enforcement Agency. For over a year, prior to the establishment of SARA, almost every week, Thomas was quoted in the press as signalling whom he intended to charge and prosecute. At that time he was speaking for SARU, the precursor to SARA. Most of these threats were directed to PPP leaders and the business community. This was long before a single investigation had even begun. Therefore, preconceived notions have long destroyed his objectivity. How can anyone trust this gentleman to investigate fairly or to act with integrity and professionalism? Obviously, he will be thriving to prove his public pronouncements true, regardless.Political affiliationsMr. Retemyer is in no better position. He is quoted in the press, earlier this week, as conceding that he has political affiliation. Though he did not disclose to which political party he is aligned, it does not take a genius to figure out where his political allegiance lies. It certainly is 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 ordinaryGuyanese, 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. After all, SARU was housed in the Ministry of the Presidency while he was a member thereof. He was appointed by the Ministry of the Presidency to SARU. That appointment still holds in SARA.SARA was or is possibly still being 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.Messrs Tacuma Ogensey and Desmond Trotman, two longstanding leaders of the WPA were also employed by SARU, exacerbating the political contamination. There is no indication that they have not been transitioned over to SARA like their colleagues. Mr. Trotman was appointed as a Commissioner to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). There has been no public disclosure that he has relinquished his position in SARU/SARA. He may be continuing to hold these two offices. Nothing is beyond this Government.What I do know is that lawyers will have a field day at the appropriate time.
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedCCPA launches investigation into viral pornographic videos of school childrenFebruary 7, 2017In “Crime”One of 2 men in leaked sex video commits suicideSeptember 25, 2018In “Crime”Pregnant 12 –Y – O claims she was raped by Stepdad; Police, Child Care Agency investigatingOctober 14, 2014In “Crime” The Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) is now investigating the rape of a minor, by two adult males, after the videos went viral on social media on Monday.The victim is said to be a 15-year-old student of Linden, Region 10. It is unclear when the incident occurred but the videos surfaced and quickly went viral on Monday. Sources at the CCPA confirmed that the young lady is a minor and will be meeting with the authorities on Tuesday.She will be accompanied by her parents to the CCPA Broad Street, Georgetown Headquarters.Preliminary reports indicate that the minor was raped after she refused the advances of one of the men in the video. The main conspirator is said to be a remigrant from the island of Antigua and he now resides at Silver City, Linden.The remigrant is the one who reportedly demanded oral sex from the minor and had the spurned perpetrator video the ordeal.At some point they both took turns in raping the minor despite her begging them to stop.It is unclear whether the perpetrators are in custody but the Police did say they were investigating the matter.