Guyana Politics: TIGI ups pressure on Irfaan Ali to produce qualifications

– says issue raises questions on if he can be trusted with Presidential immunity if elected

Dr. Troy Thomas – TIGI

“It is not a simple matter, it is not a matter that you can just brush aside. It is very important. It goes to the core of morals and also highlights competence…He must clarify the matter and I think this is something he should do immediately…” – TIGI President

President of Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc (TIGI) Dr. Troy Thomas is calling on People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali to fulfill his responsibilities to the people of Guyana. During an interview with this newspaper yesterday, Dr. Thomas said that as a public official, Ali has a major responsibility to be transparent and accountable.

That view was already proffered by anti-corruption advocate, Chris Ram, with reference to the ongoing dispute surrounding Ali’s qualifications.       

PPP – Irfaan Ali

However, Dr. Thomas went further into why the onus is upon Ali to do the “decent thing” and bring closure to the matter once and for all.

The transparency advocate said that Ali is no ordinary public official, he is one who could become the next President of Guyana—“the highest office holder of our land.”

Dr. Thomas was keen to point out that Guyana’s constitution bestows a great deal of immunity on the Executive President. He said, “When you do become President you have all kinds of protections under our constitution.”

Dr. Thomas said that Ali has a responsibility to let the nation know if he is one that can be trusted with the immunity he will receive if he ascends to the presidential chair.

The TIGI President stressed “I speak about the immunity as it underscores the importance of ensuring that the presidential candidates are people you can trust, people of good character.”

“Politicians contest elections and people can choose (to vote for them) based on policies and even party loyalty as we do in Guyana. But, ultimately, you want somebody you can have individual confidence in and that is the important thing. This is something that can help people decide if Ali has their confidence…it is imperative that we have these issues cleared up.”

Dr. Thomas said that the questions surrounding Ali’s qualifications are too many at this point to just be slipped under the mat, “and these questions beginning with his bachelors.

“We see questions about the certificates put out and we are getting more and more issues surrounding this. I also either read or saw the leader of his party saying that he would not say anything until he gets his transcripts. How long is it taking for that to happen?”

Dr. Thomas recalled that he first became aware of the issues surrounding Ali’s qualifications on an online platform well in excess of a month ago. “So how long is it really taking to get these transcripts?”

The transparency advocate, who lectures at the University of Guyana, is au fait with the process to obtain a transcript said that Ali had more than enough time to source his proof documents.

Dr. Thomas said that no right thinking Guyanese would want to nail Ali to the proverbial cross without knowing for sure if his qualifications are authentic. But, by not providing the needed evidence, “this presidential candidate is holding the entire process sort of hostage. This is not the best scenario; I think he really does needs to clarify.”

“It is not a simple matter, it is not a matter that you can just brush aside. It is very important. It goes to the core of morals and also highlights competence…He must clarify the matter and I think this is something he should do immediately.”

Two weeks have passed since this newspaper last spoke to Ali. This was when he promised to return a call within 30 minutes to an hour. He never did.

It is fast approaching two months since Ali’s qualifications were deemed questionable. Yet, he has been unable to name the university where he did his first degree qualifying him for a spot at an Indian University at which he pursued his Master’s Degree.

After questions were raised about Ali’s qualifications, he released a number of certificates.
One of these certificates—purportedly from the University of Sunderland—indicated that Ali attained a Bachelor’s degree in 2006 – three years after he got his Master’s from the Indian University.

Ali has been avoiding answering questions about his qualifications. He keeps saying that he is awaiting transcripts from the universities he attended.

But according to the University of Sunderland, this issue could have been resolved a long time ago. The university says that it is committed to serving former students with transcripts.

This is what is stated on Sunderland’s website, “From time to time you may need to provide confirmation of your degree. We offer a free service to confirm your qualification and give you a transcript to qualify your degree.

Please allow time for our Student Records Office to source this information. For alumni who graduated when Sunderland was a polytechnic, these records are maintained in off-site storage and will take up to three weeks to process.”

While the public is awaiting Ali’s transcripts, so is the PPP. This newspaper was told that over a month ago, Ali told PPP Central Committee that he is most certainly legitimately qualified. He promised to return with his transcript. He never did.

Christopher Ram

Last week, Anti-corruption and transparency advocate, Christopher Ram told this newspaper it would be in the interest of all Guyanese for Ali to swiftly resolve the issue, lest Guyana’s attention be taken away from matters of more national importance.

The lawyer said, “I do not see why there is any controversy over this. It is either he is or he is not (qualified). If he is, he should produce it (authentic certificates and transcripts) for the media. After all, he is a public figure, a presidential candidate, and I think he owes it to the public to put this issue to rest.”

Ram is one who has been quite vocal about the constitutional crisis in which Guyana finds itself. This is with regard to matters surrounding the December 21 passage of the no-confidence motion.

Speaking to Kaieteur News, Ram said, “We have far bigger issues now, and it would be unfortunate if this situation persists and we waste time on this, as opposed to a critical issue facing us with the constitutional crisis, which is staring us in the face.”

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Comments

  • Linda  On March 5, 2019 at 6:30 am

    Since Jagdeo is the person responsible for naming this person to run for President, it should be his responsibility to ensure that all transparency ethics are met. Why is he not asking Ali to produce the proof of his academic achievements? If Ali refuses to produce the required information then he should automatically be disqualified as a contender in the next election. It’s obvious that the man is a liar and a fraud. Is this the type of person Guyanese East Indians want to represent them in the next election. Is this the man they would want to hold the highest office in the land? I doubt very much that a PPP government with Ali at the head will be embraced by leaders of allied countries.

  • Peter Fraser  On March 5, 2019 at 8:16 am

    THANK U

  • Kman  On March 11, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    He is pulling a TRUMP. I am not disclosing my tax return!

    • wally n  On March 11, 2019 at 2:46 pm

      YOU MEAN OBAMA??? not showing my school records/original birth certificate….

      • Ron Saywack  On March 11, 2019 at 4:50 pm

        Wally: “YOU MEAN OBAMA??? not showing my (his) school records/original birth certificate….” a rather crass remark.

        The question of who is a natural-born U.S. citizen, as an eligibility requirement to run for the Presidency, is not very well understood by those who challenge Obama’s place of birth, or by the public in general.

        There is a school of constitutional and scholarly thought that you are deemed a natural-born U.S. citizen, irrespective of where on Earth you were born, if one (or both) of your parents is a U.S. citizen — jus sanguinis (right of blood), not only jus soli (law of the soil). (You don’t necessarily have to be born on actual U.S. soil to be deemed a natural-born citizen of the United States.)

        Thus, Obama, for all intents and purposes, could very well have been born in a Nairobi general hospital and still be eligible to run for the U.S. Presidency because his mother is a U.S. citizen from the State of Kansas.

        This eligibility question has never been brought before the Supreme Court for it to debate and/or render a decision on. There is little doubt that if or when such a case is ultimately brought before the High Court the decision will be ruled in support of the circumstances described in this commentary.

        N.B: The reason why the natural-born requirement was written in the Constitution in 1789 was to protect the United States from foreign influences. Today, it should not matter where a candidate was born if he or she is qualified to do the job.

        An amendment to the U.S. Constitution to get rid of this outdated, 18th-century eligibility rule is necessary.

  • dhanpaul narine  On March 11, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    I remember when I first came to live in New York, many years ago, I was visited by a group of persons. During the conversation they said, ‘dem boys say that you don’t have any qualifications.’ I calmly went in my folder and showed them the papers and said, ‘now you can tell dem boys that you have seen the certificates.’ Irfaan Ali should do the same. It not, it won’t go away.

  • wally n  On March 12, 2019 at 11:49 am

    Crass??? actually that was an add on, the focus was on his college records, if I remember that was the subject. you have an opinion, and so do I, leave it to Father time, it is all coming out, and so am I.

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