Ending months of speculation about who was his preferred pick for the presidential candidacy, General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Bharrat Jagdeo Sunday evening admitted that he had all along had his eyes set on Irfan Ali who was elected one day before.
Addressing what he called a “spontaneous” political meeting at Ali’s home-village in the PPP heartland of Leonora, West Coast Demerara, Jagdeo disclosed that he toiled for the 38-year old man to lead their party into the next general elections. “In this period I work to make Irfan Ali a more successful president, so what’s wrong with that? He is my friend and he is a member of the party, a longstanding and a valuable member of the party. All my skills, every single bit of it will be at his disposal for Guyana and for the future of all of our people and I don’t have any apology to make for that, no apology whatsoever,” he said.
For weeks, Jagdeo had dodged questions from the media about whether he had preferred Ali for the top job.
He credited Ali with being trained in economics, unlike President David Granger, having the experience to deliver huge projects such as housing and not requiring advisors to go into talks. Granger has absolutely no skills in the economic arena to direct people to work on large-scale projects. He [Ali] has had that experience of working on large-scale projects and delivering results.
You need a president who not only could talk a good name and make a good speech. You need a president who would sit in that office when all the glamour disappears and work day and night to improve people’s lives and Irfan Ali can do that. That is what is important to me and the PPP,” said Jagdeo of Ali, the opposition Shadow Finance Minister.
Jagdeo also hailed Ali’s political work among the grassroots in mobilising and securing political support.