By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has set certain criteria that one must meet before he or she can receive the party’s blessing to be its presidential candidate.
According to sources in the party’s Central committee, academic achievements are a plus but it is not a “stringent requirement.”
However, “good standing in the party and capacity for public appeal are two important requirements,” said one official who spoke on the ground of anonymity.
Therefore, when Ali’s qualifications were exposed as questionable just a few days before the hopefuls for presidential candidates were to make presentations to the central committee; his appeal to the party took a hit. However, he was still chosen to serve as presidential candidate.
How so? Because, Ali was able to convince members of the Central Committee that he is the best choice. In doing so, he had to convince members that his academic achievements are legitimate. Also, just as he did with the media, Ali promised to furnish the Committee with transcripts from the universities he attended.
It has been over a month and the Central Committee is still waiting.
Over the weekend, this newspaper spoke to several Central Committee members, all of whom confirmed that Ali was asked to clear up “misconceptions” in the public domain.
“Of course it was a concern, and he was asked about it, he basically told us that there is nothing to worry about and that it will be sorted out soon. He also promised to provide the committee with the transcripts,” said one very prominent Central Committee Member.
Another member said, “Yes, he was asked. His response was no different to what he told the media. But we are still waiting.”
One of the members of the Committee said that the party is very concerned about “the effect this can have.” However, the PPP stalwart said that, “we are all so eager to see the back of this incompetent cabal and wouldn’t want APNU+AFC to think that we are allowing certain things to slide.”
Another member, who is a sitting Member of Parliament said, “Man this is all BJ (Bharrat Jagdeo) doing, he believes in Irfaan and there are many who believe in him (Jagdeo), I think that is the main reason Irfaan was still elected.”
It is now approaching two months since Ali’s qualifications were exposed as 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 bunch of certificates.
One of these certificates—purportedly from the University of Sunderland—indicated that Ali attained a Bachelor’s Degree in 2006. But this was 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.
From all indications, Ali has been given a free reign from the party’s General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo.
Just last week, Jagdeo told the media, “I think Irfaan Ali should not say a single word more about it, not a single word, until he receives his transcripts. He made it clear and has released that he acquired a Bachelor’s Degree, a Master’s Degree, and is currently studying for his doctorate.”
The promise to release the transcripts is not a new one. Since January 12, Ali promised Kaieteur to release the transcript in days.
Transcripts from universities in good standing are usually made available in the matter of days.
Most transcripts from universities around the world are made available within two days.
One of the main transcripts that Ali promised to provide was from the University of Sunderland.
The University of Sunderland makes it clear on its website that it is always willing to provide former students with transcripts. The university also indicated that it would never take a month to provide a transcript.
The university website states, “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. Complete our online enquiry form below to request a transcript.”
Sunderland stopped being polytechnic and became a full university since 1992. Ali reportedly graduated in 2006. This means that he would not even have to wait three weeks.
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