By Svetlana Marshall – guyana chronicle  January 8, 2020

  

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, and PPP/C’s Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali

– Dr. Hinds urges rejection of Jagdeo-Ali combination
…accuses PPP of political dishonesty with ‘front presidential candidate’

By Svetlana Marshall
NOTING that Bharrat Jagdeo is the ‘real presidential candidate’ for the PPP, Political Scientist and Executive Member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), Dr. David Hinds, said that the party is engaging in political dishonesty and Guyanese must reject such behavior at the March 2, 2020 polls. .

In an interview on Guyana Chronicle’s online programme – Vantage Point – Dr. Hinds said it is no secret that the PPP/C Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali, is a ‘front’ for the Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, who will pull the strings, if that party is elected to office.
“The PPP/C is selling a pig in the bag to the Guyanese people and the Guyanese people have to be wise…It is very clear that Mr. Ali is a front and the real person who is going to run the throne is Mr. Jagdeo and Mr. Jagdeo, because of his track record, is not acceptable to the people of Guyana,” Dr. Hinds told the Guyana Chronicle.

Aside from Guyana being described as a ‘narco state’ under the leadership of Jagdeo, who served as president from 1999 to 2011, it experienced a wave of violent crimes fuelled by extra-judicial killings. During that period, there were three massacres: Lusignan where 11 people were killed, Bartica where another 12 were killed and Lindo Creek, where seven miners were slaughtered. Besides, there were countless extra-judicial killings, with some activists estimating that around 400 Afro-Guyanese males were gunned down. Convicted drug-trafficker, Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan, had operated his gang between 2003 and 2006. In a public advertisement, the drug-trafficker, who was arrested in 2006, contended that he was fighting crime on behalf of the Jagdeo-led government.

Cognisant of the fact that Jagdeo, under the Constitution of Guyana, is not eligible for a third term in Office as President, Ali, months after being named the PPP/C Presidential Candidate, said he will make Jagdeo a vice-president, if the PPP/C wins the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections. But Dr. Hinds said that while Jagdeo may have the backing of Ali and other executives within the PPP/C, he lacks widespread support due to the damage done to the country under his leadership. “He may be acceptable to part of the PPP’s base but certainly Mr Jagdeo’s name does not inspire confidence in the large cross-section of the Guyanese people,” the Political Scientist posited.

He said while there is nothing wrong with Jagdeo, a former president, offering his service to the PPP/C, it is the prominent role he wants to play that is a cause for concern. He said while Ali is the Presidential Candidate, Jagdeo remains the face of the PPP/C. “In a sense, you are putting before the Guyanese people, a candidate, who is not going to be the person running the ship of government, and in a sense that is political dishonesty but I think the PPP has gotten to this point because they have depended on Jagdeo too much, they have allowed Mr. Jagdeo to hijack the party,” Dr. Hinds reasoned.

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He said Guyanese cannot risk having Ali as a President, knowing fully well that he will be heavily guided by Jagdeo. But like Jagdeo, the Political Scientist said, Ali has his own baggage. Ali, a former Minister of Housing, Water and Tourism under the PPP/C, has been accused of academic fraud. It is alleged that he used a fake transcript to pursue a master’s degree programme at a University in India. Added to that, he has been accused of defrauding the State of some $174M for his role in the notorious Pradoville land-sale scandal. The case is before the court.

The ex-minister was slapped with 19 counts of fraud in November, 2018 and the charges were laid indictable. The charges read that between 2010 and 2015, Ali conspired with persons unknown to defraud the Government of Guyana when he acted recklessly in presenting the value of 19 plots of State land situated at Plantation Sparendaam and Goedverwagting, East Coast Demerara, and sold the said lands at a grossly undervalued price without first obtaining a valuation to determine their true value.