United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch has announced that a number of United States agencies have come on board to assist citizens with voter education as part of the electoral process.US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann LynchOn the sidelines of an event on Friday, she indicated that United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the State Department and other agencies agreed to lend support after requests were made by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).“The State Department and USAID is providing assistance, primarily towards voter education, both in Georgetown and along the coast, but also in the hinterland. This is a very important part of the process and we’re thrilled that GECOM invited us in to assist. We’re aiding and assisting as best as we can,” the diplomat told reporters.GECOM Chairperson Retired Justice Claudette SinghUSAID was independently established by the US Federal Government, primarily for the purpose of administering civilian foreign aid and development assistance.Meanwhile, a number of international observers have applied to scrutinise the entire electoral process in the lead up to and after the March 2, 2020 Regional and General Elections. After some delay, a number of international observers have been approved to ensure that the 2020 elections are free, fair and credible.Chairwoman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh had shared that the Commission welcomes the international observers, noting that they are critical to the process.In September, officials from the Carter Center would have visited to gain perspective on Guyana’s situation. Following a meeting with the Attorney General, Basil Williams, the Center’s Associate Democracy Programme Director, Brett Lacy told reporters that the organisation is trying to get the various perspectives of the current situation.“I can say from the Carter Center, we are really just here to listen and we are hoping to meet with different actors to understand everyone’s perspective on current events here in Guyana,” Lacy had said.Shortly after, the team met with Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo where many matters were discussed, including the “conduct of elections, credible elections and early elections”. He had also facilitated discussions with the ABCE Chief of Missions which included Ambassador Lynch; Deputy British High Commissioner, Ray Davidson; Canadian High Commissioner, Lilian Chatterjee and Deputy Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Guyana, Philippe Coessens.GECOM also confirmed that the European Union (EU) would be fielding an observer team for the polls. Government nominated Commissioner, Charles Corbin was quoted as saying, “The EU team visited. They have engaged with the Government. And they have indicated they’re prepared to mount an observer mission. And basically, they have been engaging with other stakeholders in Guyana.”
“It won’t be completely snuffed out till Oct. 13,” said Joe Luna of the Ventura County Fire Department, from the fire command post in Thousand Oaks. “You’re looking at an area nearly 15 miles long and seven miles wide. “There are a lot of burning embers in there, and the wind is picking up.” The cost of the Topanga Fire soared Tuesday to $14.4 million. Meanwhile, about 30 firefighters worked on the remnants of a 1,100-acre fire in the Verdugo Mountains, dubbed the Castaways Fire after the landmark Burbank restaurant close to where the blaze started last week. They mopped up hot spots and remained alert for potential flare-ups as the Santa Anas kicked up. The fire was contained as fire crews used helicopters equipped with infrared cameras to spot embers on the Verdugo Mountains’ La Tuna Canyon side. No homes were damaged or threatened. “There’s still heat up there, but we’ve got it surrounded,” said Capt. Ron Bell of the Burbank Fire Department. Bell said firefighters would man 100 feet around the perimeter for days until the last embers had burned themselves out. The cost of fighting the fire could amount to as much as $4 million, but officials said much of the cost could be offset by federal and state grants. Also Tuesday, officials reported that the Stough Canyon Nature Center survived the fire but that many hiking trails will be closed at least through this week. Dana Bartholomew, (818) 713-3730 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Despite a new burst of Santa Ana winds, firefighters managed to close the last remaining gap in the Topanga Fire at Las Virgenes and Chesebro canyons, fire officials said. Two helicopters, fighting gusts up to 50 mph, made water dumps throughout the day. As backup, engines were stationed in Bell Canyon, Simi Valley, Woodland Hills, Calabasas and Fire Station 36 in Oak Park. Throughout the week, thousands of residents and animals had fled fires from Burbank to Calabasas along the Verdugo and Santa Susana mountains. Fueled by brush thickened by record rains and Santa Ana winds that threatened to carry embers across the Ventura Freeway into the parched hills of Malibu, the Topanga Fire choked the skies and rained ash across Los Angeles. At its peak last week, more than 3,000 firefighters from 100 agencies fought the blaze. Firefighters fully contained two menacing wildfires Tuesday – one in Burbank and the other along the Ventura-Los Angeles county line – but were worried that Santa Ana winds could fan embers in the smoldering burn zones. “We’re still concerned about the wind, because it threatens our containment,” said Kurt Schaefer, a spokesman for five agencies fighting the 24,000-acre Topanga Fire, “It’s (still) a lot of work.” Firefighters said it would be another week before the last embers were snuffed and the Topanga and Burbank fires declared officially dead. By 6 p.m., more than 1,300 firefighters had encircled the brush fire in the hills within Los Angeles and Ventura counties that had scorched more than 24,000 acres and destroyed three houses and 35 vehicles.