[wzslider]By: Medina MalagićIn what has been deemed a historical success, the B&H football team, popularly referred to as the ‘Dragons’, has entered the 2014 World Cup for the first time since the country gained independence in 1992. After last night’s 1:0 win over Lithuania, B&H finished in first place in Group G, and joined the ranks of England, Spain and Germany in the World Cup qualifications that will take place in Brazil next year.Fireworks, flares, an abundance of B&H flags and the gathering of thousands of fans in front of BBI Center in Sarajevo and in central squares in cities throughout B&H marked the celebrations last night. The party continued into the night. The match was broadcast live in front of the BBI Center and was followed by a musical spectacle, where fans eagerly awaited the arrival of the B&H football team who returned to Sarajevo immediately after the match was over.Triumphant Moment of Unity The winning goal of the match came in the 68th minute from striker Vedad Ibišević, which was all that was needed to seal B&H’s entrance to the World Cup next year.The win last night, and B&H’s first-place ranking in Group G, carries with it profound symbolism. For the people of B&H, the B&H football team represents unity, a concept that remains an elusive one and is in stark contrast to the institutionalized divisions that are responsible for most of the current problems in this country. The unity that the ‘Dragons’ exemplify is what many Bosnian-Herzegovinians wish would one day resonate throughout the entire country.Since the conflict ended in the 1990’s, the war and subsequent division of the country and the numerous problems that prevent the country from functioning normally were almost always the focal point of global media coverage of B&H. Positive reports about B&H were rare. Now, the entrance of teams like England, Germany and Spain in the World Cup was overshadowed by global media reports on B&H’s first-ever qualifications to the 2014 World Cup.Since last night, global media outlets such as BBC, Daily Mail and other influential sports outlets focused on the historic success of the team’s placement in the World Cup. Even though several media reports did made reference to the divisions and the conflict, it occupied the space of merely several lines that served more as an introductory note in order to place it in discernible contrast to the exuberant celebrations that took place all over B&H last night.Now, the central focus is on the remarkable triumph of the team, which after 20 years of repeated failures and after nearly qualifying for global tournaments several times in the past few years has finally earned their deserved place in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.The gathering of over 50.000 fans in Sarajevo last night, who stayed long after the match was over to wait for the players to arrive in the central square so they could celebrate together, is just one testament to the vast importance that Bosnian-Herzegovinians place on this win and World Cup entrance. For many, this is a much-needed symbol of normality and positivity, manifested on the streets of Sarajevo and throughout B&H last night.(Photo Sources: Facebook/Twitter)
Upon receipt of CoI report of alleged assassination plot… says his office, family members must be protectedBy Shemuel FanfairAs President David Granger received the report on the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into an alleged assassination plot against him, he said he feared for his office, telling reporters that the First Lady and members of his immediate family should also be protected against any security threats.CoI Chairman Paul Slowe shakes the hand of President Granger as Minister of State Joseph Harmon looks on (Carl Croker photo)“I am fearful for the office of the Presidency; I think that the office of the President is one that should enjoy the protection of the security services and any reports of threats or any risk against the President’s life or the lives of the immediate relatives of the President including the First Lady or the President’s children deserve to be properly and thoroughly investigated.President David Granger made these comments at a handing over ceremony at State House where he received the report from CoI Chairman, retired Assistant Police Commissioner Paul Slowe. The Chairman, who was appointed in July 2017, was tasked to inquire into the persons, places, time, circumstances and events by and through which allegations came to be made of an intention or a plan to assassinate the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. The report will include the Commission’s findings as well as offer recommendations.Reporters questioned President Granger over possible fears for his personal safety and the fact the accused persons were released by Police.The President however indicated that he will wait to assess the Commission’s findings and hold consultations with his Cabinet before he makes any pronouncements on the matter.“It is good practice to ensure that the President is safe and if there is a threat to that safety, it should be investigated,” the President affirmed.Commissioner Slowe spoke briefly to media operatives after presenting his findings.He categorised the Commission’s work as a very “involved and lengthy process” in which enough evidence and witness statements were provided to meet the requirements as set out when he was first installed to investigate the alleged plot.The CoI sought to find out whether or not the Police conducted sufficient investigations into the allegations and threats to assassinate the President of the day and to ascertain if the Police had knowledge of the plot before, and what actions were taken after the receipt of that information.The inquiry further sought to establish whether there was neglect or omission to thoroughly investigate the plot to assassinate the President and determine whether such failure or omission was intentional. It also sought to recommend suitable prevention measures to thwart future occurrences.“The Terms of Reference spoke of diligence and thoroughness and all of those things, I think I attempted to answer fully,” Commissioner Slowe stated on Thursday.Though the Chairman was tight-lipped on whether or not he recommended disciplinary action on any Police rank involved in the investigation, the media was informed that after the President reviews the report, it will be made public. Several senior ranks had testified before the CoI.It was earlier this year that Andriff Gillard alleged that businessman Nizam Khan offered to pay him $7 million to kill President Granger sometime in 2015; an allegation that Khan denied.The CoI had heard that Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud, while on leave, had ordered the release of businessman Khan – the accused plotter; his brother, Imran Khan, and the complainant – Andrif Gillard in March. Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine claimed that a proper investigation was not carried out. He had also agreed that the Police probe was lethargic and noted that he could not have defended the Guyana Police Force.Police Legal Advisor, Retired Justice Claudette Singh said that in her view, the matter was not treasonous while the mental state of the accuser, Gillard was questioned during the course of the CoI.