Guyana Politics: I’m disappointed, but I will work with him – Anil Nandlall

Irfaan Ali and Anil Nandlall

Anil Nandlall expressed frustration after losing the contest forPeople’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C)’s presidential candidacy to Irfaan Ali, yesterday. However, he said that he will work with Ali to ensure that the party wins the election.

An abrupt turn of events caused the two men to face-off in a two-person contest, following the withdrawal of the candidacies of the three other persons who had made presentations for the nomination: Drs. Frank Anthony and Vindhya Persaud, and Gail Teixeira.    

Speaking to the press, after the vote, Nandlall said “We had a good contest and we agreed to a set of rules. We have concluded that process in accordance with the rules, and that process has produced comrade Irfaan Ali as the presidential candidate.”

He explained that Ali got 24 votes, while he got 11 votes.
Asked how he felt about the loss, Nandlall said, “Naturally, I am disappointed. You don’t ever enter a contest thinking that you would not win. I thought that I would have won, but the executive of the central committee of the party did not feel that way.”

Despite his frustration, he said that he has already congratulated Ali, “all the other contestants for a hard fought battle” and “the 35 members of the Central Committee for their participation and support”.
“[The election] was fair, because the collective agreed to it.”
He also expressed a commitment to work with Ali, towards the party’s victory at the next election.

A question was posed to Dr. Vindhya Persaud, as she was leaving Freedom House, about why she thinks Ali won the election. She said, “I wouldn’t want to comment at this point on why this happened, but I would just say that what happened was through a vote, and that was the decision that was taken by the leadership.”Asked where he sees himself in a PPP government, Nandlall said, “That will have to be a decision that, if we win the elections, I think that that’s the first objective. Then, we can cross that bridge.”

Nandlall said that negotiations for the prime ministerial candidacy have not been discussed as yet by the executive committee or the central committee.
“There were only two items on the agenda: the holding of the elections and a brief discussion of the election strategy.”

Asked what she thinks about Ali’s success, Persaud said, “I think, at this point, there’s a process and the process was carried. It allowed the 35-member committee to vote by secret ballot. It allowed for two people to go toward that process and, for me, the next step is looking at the elections and the party winning this election.”

Persaud was tight-lipped about why she withdrew before the candidacy, telling the media, “I think that that was a decision made based on many factors, which I would not comment on right now. But what has happened is that there was a process.”

Answering on whether she did so out of coercion. She said, “Nobody pressured anybody into withdrawing.”
A question was posed to her about whether she thinks Ali’s religious background would hinder his chances of retaining the strong command the party has had of the Hindu vote. She said that Guyana has never had an issue of religious intolerance.

“I have always been at the forefront in advocating for religious unity and also not only tolerance, [but] respect and understanding [too]. So, I don’t think anybody’s religion should be focused on in this because, at the end of the day, we are all Guyanese. Whether a person may have pluses or minuses, I don’t think people’s religion should really factor into this.”
Gail Teixeira did not say much to the media as she repeated, “It was a democratic process.”
She explained that she withdrew from the candidacy so that the party leadership could have consensus on who the candidate would be.”

Asked whether she thinks Ali is a capable candidate, Teixeira said, “He brings youth and a lot of experience; a good track record in housing, water and the economy. So I’m there to support him.”
Dr. Frank Anthony left Freedom House abruptly after the vote, and could not be reached for comment.

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