By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
Yesterday, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo spoke about happenings at the Guyana Lands and Surveys; he spoke about fuel smuggling across Guyana and touched on other issues that had not yet been known to the public. Yet, the former President was unable to speak about matters affecting his own party.
More than a month has elapsed since People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali has been accused of academic fraud. There were several media reports to the effect that Ali used a fraudulent document—a transcript—to pursue his Master’s degree at an Indian university.
Further, Ali circulated a certificate of a Bachelor’s degree that he secured from the University of Sunderland. However, that first degree was secured three years after Ali got his Master’s degree.
There have been suggestions and indications that the Sunderland certificate was not authentic.
Ali never stated specifically the name of the institution at which he secured the first degree he used to enter the Master’s programme. However, he made attempts to verify that the Sunderland certificate is authentic.
But, Ali has not been able to effectively put the matter to rest. On the very day that he was elected PPP presidential candidate, Ali promised the media to provide transcripts from all the universities he attended. That was almost one month ago—January 19.
To date, the transcripts have not been forthcoming. Further, Ali never hosted a press conference since he was chosen presidential candidate.
At yesterday’s press conference, Jagdeo was asked if he was provided with the relevant transcripts. Jagdeo indicated he has not. He said, “I know he (Ali) has written to the agency, so I suspect as soon as he gets them he will make them available.”
Asked which agency, Jagdeo responded, “I do not know.” But, he said, “I can verify that you have all the certificates that he has so far.”
Kaieteur News pointed out that while indeed there are over six certificates from Ali in the public domain, the media is yet to see the certificate of the degree he used to enter the Master’s programme.
Jagdeo responded, “He is waiting on the transcript from the agency.”
The Party leader said, “I have seen all sorts of the things. It is in the public domain and I can vouch for all of it, and the candidate has made it clear that he is getting the transcript for the other one, but he has a Master’s; he is doing the doctorate, he has a first degree and there is some issue about another first degree.”
This newspaper questioned Jagdeo as to whether he was vouching that Ali had a first degree when he entered the Master’s programme.
Jagdeo said, “The thing is what he said to me. I believe him. Yes, I am vouching for him because I believe him.”
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