Guyana Politics: Irfaan Ali selected as the PPP Presidential candidate

Anil Nandlall disappointed; Irfaan Ali, Jagdeo tout youth, experience, teamwork

Irfaan Ali

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) presidential candidate is Irfaan Ali. The former housing minister defeated former attorney general Anil Nandlall 24 to 11. The secret balloting followed the withdrawal of three other candidates: Gail Teixeira, Vindhya Persaud and Frank Anthony.
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After winning, he touted his youthfulness and experience in the finance sector as major advantages going into the next general elections. “The very fact that our party leadership has elected a young person shows that our party is committed to young people, not only by talk but by action,” said Ali, 38.

Saying he was “extremely humbled” by being elected as the presidential candidate and he would be taking up the challenge “very seriously” to deliver key and essential services to all Guyanese. His priorities are fast-tracking the Public Sector Investment Programme, curbing rising debt, increasing job opportunities, and developing transformative projects through the oil and gas sector.

“The experience I have had in government allows me the opportunity to work alongside my team, the broader PPP team, in moving Guyana forward for the betterment and improvement of the lives of all,” said Ali, a former Minister of Housing, Water, Tourism, Industry and Commerce.

Ali shrugged off concerns that he would be overshadowed by PPP General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo, instead saying that the former Guyanese leader is an “asset” and he would be facing the polls under the umbrella of teamwork that would develop a manifesto. “I see myself as being part of a team and I see the General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party as a great asset to Guyana.  I see him as a great asset to the party. I see him as someone who has served tremendously well and someone who has a lot to offer and I don’t know what you meant by pulling strings,” he said. Ali added that his ministerial performance at the Ministry of Housing and Water “would tell you about my independence”

“This is a team approach. This is not an Irfaan Ali approach. This  is a team approach to government. This is a PPP approach implementing the policies and programmes and manifesto of the PPP. At the end of the day, the people will judge us based on our ability and our effectively we implement our manifesto,” said Ali who is currently the opposition’s Shadow Finance Minister and Chairman of the bipartisan Public Accounts Committee.

Asked whether he thought his credibility would be affected by questions being raised about the authenticity of his academic qualifications and alleged fraudulent sale of lands to government officials totalling GYD$174 million, he said “I am very confident in who I am” and he would be releasing more transcripts of “everything I have completed over the years. “I want to assure you that I am very confident about my qualifications,” he said.

PPP General Secretary,  Jagdeo declined to confirm the widely-held view that he backed Ali. At the same time he lauded the newly-minted presidential candidate for his ministerial performance and political mobilisation in Region Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands).

Nandlall, for his part, expressed disappointment that he lost in his bid to lead the PPP to the polls either this year or next year depending on the outcome and time when ultimately the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) rules on the validity of the no-confidence motion that was passed 33-32 in the National Assembly on December 21, 2018.

From: Posted by  – Demerara Waves – January 19, 2019

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  • guyaneseonline  On January 20, 2019 at 10:06 am

    Irfaan Ali as the PPP’s presidential candidate may see the diaspora rethinking their support of the party
    Letter from Oscar Ramjeet in Stabroek News

    Dear Editor,

    Although the news of Irfaan Ali as the PPP’s presidential candidate did not come as a great surprise, it is nevertheless, the talking point in the diaspora and I am sure, throughout Guyana. One wonders now if the PPP will win an election with him at the helm. It was Bharrat Jagdeo who was responsible for the PPP losing the government in May 2015 and it is believed that because of his influence, Irfaan was chosen as the party’s presidential candidate. It is felt that Jagdeo has a great influence over the former Housing Minister and can wield a lot of power if Irfaan Ali is President. Jagdeo, a Russian-trained economist, wants to emulate Vladimir Putin/Dmitry Medvedev.

    It is a known fact that Anil Nandlall, the former Attorney General, is much smarter, more articulate, more respected and presidential than Ali, yet he was defeated in a contest between the two. Party supporters are upset with the move, prompting them to reflect on Jagdeo’s history with the PPP. He was never in the trenches like dozens of renowned supporters, many of whom were forced out or kicked out because of Jagdeo’s domineering attitude and behaviour. Moses Nagamootoo and Khemraj Ramjattan, now two top AFC members, are among them, not to mention Ralph Ramkarran, the late Navin Chandarpaul, among others.

    I know for a fact, dozens of well-to-do Guyanese in the diaspora, who were strong supporters of the PPP, because of Jagdeo’s greed and dictatorial attitude, switched their loyalty to the AFC and made large financial contributions to that movement. Many of them indicated to me that they regretted the move and were thinking of assisting the PPP to win the next elections. Now with this move to have Irfaan as Head, they might rethink and might very well keep out and stay out. The mood at this stage is that there will be mass abstention and this might allow the PNC+APNU to win. A friend of mine just emailed me stating, “the dictator has had his way. Nandlall was the brightest of them all, but the dictator wouldn’t have it. APNU has no need to rig now. Goodbye PPP.”

    Yours faithfully,

    Oscar Ramjeet

    • Deedar Jillah  On January 25, 2019 at 2:08 pm

      Congratulations.
      I would like to speak to him.
      References, campaign for him
      I need his contact information.
      Thanks.

  • guyaneseonline  On January 20, 2019 at 10:09 am

    The PPP’s selection for presidential candidate boggles the mind
    Letter by Jerry Singh in Stabroek News

    Dear Editor,

    As the PNC (demolished by the new national hero Charrandass voting for the no-confidence motion) staggers in confusion and is unprepared for new elections, and using wrong and strong tactics to delay the vote, the PPP must not think it can put up a goat and people will vote for him just because they are loyal to the PPP.

    The PPP’s selection for presidential candidate boggles the mind.

    With the PPP’s winning streak having the PNC on the run, walloping them at the 2016 and 2018 local government elections and defeating them with the no-confidence vote, the PPP has squandered the enormous goodwill of the people and financial supporters. I cannot, in good faith, support the PPP’s presidential candidate. What message is the PPP sending to the voters that it does not matter if a candidate’s story may indicate academic fraud?

    Certainly, the PNC will be defeated at the next election but we do not want a continuation of the Jagdeoite kleptocracy. I do not support the view that it’s better for the PPP to thief than for the PNC to thief.

    I call on all Guyanese in the diaspora to run the PPP execs out of town when they come begging for election donations. This choice insults the intelligence of all Guyanese.

    Mr Ali’s overnight wealth and very questionable story about his qualifications simply does not add up. The PPP’s kingmaker should not miscalculate that people don’t care who their candidate is, where allegedly the candidate magically obtained a Master’s degree before a Bachelor’s. Some questions arise.

    Did Mr Ali actually attend any face-to-face classes anywhere for the two claimed degrees? On what basis did UWI admit him into the doctoral programme? What degree is that? Did Mr Ali attend any classes at any UWI campus? Did he complete all coursework? If not, some more details on the doctoral programme would be enlightening. What did Mr Ali mean by his dissertation was submitted and he is awaiting an evaluation? Usually, a dissertation is submitted only when the candidate’s Doctoral Committee feels the candidate’s work meet standards and is ready for submission. So, when a doctoral dissertation is submitted at the doctoral defense presentation, the candidate is told on the day of the defense what edits need to be done so a final submission can be made. Did Mr Ali actually submit the final dissertation and defended it, or did he just submit the dissertation topic for approval? The whole story is very fishy.

    I feel sorry for Guyana. The masses should send a message to the 35 PPP central committee members that their 35 votes will not be enough to make them win the national election.

    Yours faithfully,

    Jerry Singh

  • guyaneseonline  On January 20, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Who is going to vote for a presidential candidate with so much baggage?
    Letter by GHK Lall in Stabroek News

    Dear Editor,

    Now that it is official, there is a single simple question: who is going to vote for that fine learned gentleman? I can see only diehard PPP supporters coming out to exercise the franchise. And that would be far from enough in the usual razor-thin environment. Even their own people would have serious disbelief and chronic problems in digesting this development; and this in spite of all the conditioning that was done and is sure to follow. And if their own voters find this candidate highly unsatisfactory, what better could be expected in terms of acceptance from the next side of the divide?

    Clearly, this is a creature of a calculating leader, secret ballot and all, consensus candidate and all. And sometimes, clever men end up outsmarting themselves. That leadership control, reported since earlier in the week to have been a “lock” as to the choice, is going to come back to haunt. The man is not of leadership caliber, of anything; that is inarguable and not subject to any considerable debate. Definitely not presidential timber, even of the cheapest, least sturdy variety. No mention, not even a whiff, is made of court matters or any other controversies pending and sure to rage over this incomprehensible outcome. There are still other matters to be exhumed; none good. Then again, all things and ingredients and players considered, it is not so incomprehensible after all.

    Yes, the name was bandied about with a lot of orchestrated delirious talk of qualifications (or lack of them). But who in their right minds would vote for a sterling upstanding fellow as this one, who travels with so much baggage? So much disregard? And this is not only measuring from the opposition side of the voting fence. This is either over-calculation or overconfidence; or, given the known Machiavellian operator who was reckless enough to show his hand and choice in public, I am wicked enough and conspiratorial enough to suspect a fix.

    Exxon has a lot of muscle. In many things, many places; and in many currencies, with many people. It would not have minded spending; and there is widespread suspicion in this country that there is insatiable greed powering certain leaders who aspire for unending dominance. One of the options I am weighing is the thought that matters came down to this: name your price, as your group is not going to gain the upper hand in the booth or on the street. Additionally, I am of the strong opinion that the mighty United States may have spoken on the sidelines to that senior chap, who has developed a gift for speaking from several sides of his own mouth at the same time on the same subject. The conversation would have been similar: call a number. It is that or nothing else. Guaranteed.

    This is one of spaces in which I am working, as the opposition’s election result translates to a virtual giveaway to the coalition government. Stated otherwise, any upcoming national election is in the hands of the coalition government to lose. It is made that straightforward by that clearly prearranged internal election that has to be embarrassing and demeaning to the real stalwarts in the party. I do believe that the former Attorney General, or the miscast Dr Kildare, would have brought out the base, and given the coalition a run for its money. It is astonishing that men of this political and academic ilk would kowtow so slavishly to the whims and caprices of an overweening and troubled captaincy. And now questionable, too, as to any ulterior motives.

    In view of what is now final, I would submit that even the geriatric Gail, or the youthful Vindhya and junior Charles would rally better and harder (perhaps, more successfully) the loyalists, party fence-sitters, and uncommitted.

    Yours faithfully,

    GHK Lall

  • walter  On January 20, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    DISGUSTING DISRESPECTFUL DEPRAVED LAUGHABLE SLIME FILLED …

  • bernard n. singh  On January 20, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    A very GOOD reason to vote ANUG people in.

  • Deedar Jillah  On January 25, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    Congratulations.
    I would like to speak to him.
    References, campaign for him
    I need his contact information.
    Thanks.

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