Almost eight months after choosing Irfaan Ali as the presidential candidate of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) for the next general elections, leader Bharrat Jagdeo remains convinced that it was the right decision.
Jagdeo stood by the choice on Wednesday evening while a guest on Kaieteur Radio on the Political Show hosted by Senior Reporter, Leonard Gildarie, and civil society advocate, Sara Bharrat.
Jagdeo, a former president who served 12 years before his constitutional two terms ended in 2011, returned to his party in 2015 and became the General Secretary and Leader of the Opposition.
A recent poll said to be carried out by Turkeyen Research and Polling Institute (TRPI)—an initiative headed by Trinidad-born political analyst, Dr. Kirk Meighoo, favoured Dr. Frank Anthony, a former Health Minister, and Anil Nandlall, who served as Attorney General, ahead of Ali.
The same poll also suggested that the ruling Coalition would prefer their chances in any elections against Ali, a former Housing Minister.
On Wednesday, Jagdeo scoffed at the poll saying that there are questions over the methodology and who really initiated it.
He did not rule out the Coalition as behind it to create dissent in the ranks of the PPP.
According to Jagdeo, it is a fact that Nandlall, one of the leading contenders for that presidential candidate post, is still in the PPP. So, too, is Anthony and himself.
Ali will be implementing the programme of the PPP if the party wins.
According to Jagdeo, the process to choose Ali was democratic with 24 out of 35 persons of the party’s Central Executive giving him the nod.
Jagdeo, during the radio show, suggested that comparing Ali to President David Granger is like chalk to cheese.
Granger since 2015 has been breaking promises and not meeting the people and the media.
According to the former president, the President has blundered and squandered opportunities, including the oil and gas contract and is now in charge of the “most corrupt government”.
Ali, 38, on the other hand, has been travelling the country, meeting people since being chosen…more than Granger would have done over the past four and a half years.
Batting for Ali, Jagdeo said that the former Housing Minister has a background in economics, which would prove crucial in an oil and gas era.
With regards to his tenure at the Ministry of Housing, Jagdeo said that it is fact that between 6,000 -7,000 houselots were created annually while he was a minister.
When he left the ministry in 2014, there were $8B in the coffers of the Central Housing and Planning Authority.
Jagdeo is convinced that Ali would be an ideal president since the biggest challenge to the country in the coming years will be the economy.
Ali is experienced enough to navigate the complexities that will arise.
In fact, Jagdeo said, the presidential candidate is capable enough and does not need advisors in the room with him all the time.
Guyana is heading into early elections after a shock December 21st no-confidence vote against the Coalition was carried.
The challenges by the Government went all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice which upheld that it was legal.
Guyana is awaiting a date for elections with the President saying he is to be advised by the Guyana Elections Commission.
The Opposition is pushing for elections before the year ends.
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