Home Top Stories “I will not disappoint you nor my party” – PPP/C presidential candidate
…commits to reversing the “wrongdoings” of APNU/AFC coalition
One day after being named presidential Candidate of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), former Housing and Water Minister Irfaan Ali said he was committed to the task of leading his party to an election victory and carrying out its policies to create jobs, expand economic growth, and reopen the closed sugar estates that have left thousands of Guyanese jobless.
Ali, who was speaking at an impromptu public meeting held on Sunday in his hometown Leonora, West Coast Demerara which saw thousands of supporters, said he remained humbled by the fact that he was chosen to lead the Party at the next elections as its presidential candidate.
“I will not disappoint you or my party. I will not disappoint the leadership. I will work hard to ensure leadership for the People’s Progressive Party. I assure you I will not be lazy. I assure you I will not buckle under any circumstances. I will stand with this party and I will stand with all of our supporters and any threat that comes our way,” Ali said to a cheering crowd on Sunday.
Making reference to the race for the presidential nomination, Ali said his contenders were all valuable members of the PPP/C and although he came out victorious, he was happy with the fact that they have given their commitment to support him. “All of these comrades showed that together we are a team; a combination of competencies that will ensure…that we deliver on all of our promises to the people of Guyana.”
In highlighting the hardship facing many Guyanese who were affected by the closure of several sugar estates, Ali also gave a commitment to have these estates reopened. “We will correct the wrong and make right the injustices to the sugar workers all across Guyana. We are going to restore benefits to you. This is a promise to you. This is a joy today. I come from a party that has done so much for Guyana. The youths and women building a Guyana that is inclusive,” he added.
But Ali told the gathering that he stood committed to the direction and leadership of the Party and the manifesto, promising to deliver on all the promises made. He also praised the Party’s General Secretary, saying he was an asset to the PPP/C. “As the presidential candidate, I would be foolish to have the greatest asset and not use it. This is not Irfaan Ali’s moment; it is all of our moment.”
In providing a prelude to what Guyanese can expect from the PPP/C manifesto, Ali, a trained economist, promised to change “all those bad politics that took away income from our people. So, that more resources could be made available to people, creating more opportunities for them.”
“We have seen the economic decline and the social circumstances, because of the closure of the sugar estates. We will correct the wrong, and we will make right the injustices made out against sugar workers all across Guyana,” Ali told a massive crowd that erupted in cheers.
Ali said another promise and commitment of his party is to deal with corruption. In making reference to the US$18 million signing bonus from ExxonMobil that Government failed to declare, Ali said if he won the presidency, he would make it criminal for the non-declaration of Guyana’s natural resources.
He went on to say that his party would also create a platform that would ensure social and economic justice. “We have to build social programmes and these include the pension system removal of Value Added Tax on essential services. These are things we have to restore.”
But more significantly, Ali said if the PPP/C was returned to Government, it would be creating more than 50,000 new jobs all across the country. “We will be creating through the use of ICT and education platform so that people could have education via distance learning,” he added.
Ali also gave a commitment to have US$500 million invested in Guyana from year one under the PPP/C.
“We did this before oil and gas and we will do it even better on a much larger scale with oil and gas. We will build mega farms and increase rice production and provide incentives… These are the types of plans and programmes that will break us through into the future and create a wave of economic wealth and well-being for our people,” he added.
The former Housing Minister said he would work on a plan to deliver thousands more house lots across the country and the construction of a deep-water harbour particularly one that would connect Guyana and Brazil. He said he would work to improve the health-care system which has been under massive decline under the coalition Government, and recommence the construction of the Specialty Hospital project.
“We are going to launch not only training programme in the medical field but we are going to find the brightest that we will develop the skill sets to take the country forward. This is the commitment of your PPP/C Government. We will bring back progress to this country of ours,” he stated.
In endorsing Ali for the post of presidential candidate, Jagdeo said that his election represented the interest and importance that the PPP/C placed on helping to advance the millennial. He reminded that a majority of the Guyanese voters were young people and Ali was a representation of their dreams and vision.
He recalled that the coalition Government had touted the importance of young people, but failed to deliver on including them in its vision. Jagdeo said, “He (Ali) is a young man that can connect with young people. He can empathise with the young people. The old people, they lecture people.”
The former Guyanese Head of State noted that Guyana needed a presidential candidate who could deliver to the people. “That can deliver better education, health care, housing etc. In his housing plans, we have had the largest growth in the Caribbean. He has the skills to do that. You see the evidence when you drive around the country. He has the experience that you need as a president, you cannot just talk about it – you need a president that when the glamour has faded will sit all night and work to make that happen.”
But equally important to note, Jagdeo said that Ali has an intimate understanding of the social and economic challenges facing the country, and based on his experience he will deliver. Ali is the Opposition’s Chief Spokesperson for Finance and Economics. He also heads the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly and has proven himself as a strong finance professional.
“He can understand immediately what the challenges in this Government are. They are using up two or three years short-term oil money. You need a president that doesn’t need an advisor [every time] he goes into a meeting about economic matters. Irfaan Ali has that…Ali has been practically in charge of this region (Region Three). The amount of ground work he has done working with all of the team here. You cannot want a president that walks just for the glamour, but when the grassroots work comes they stay home.”
Jagdeo continued, “I know Irfaan Ali is trustworthy. I did not say anything before, because we were in the contest, but now the people have selected a candidate, I can tell you the attributes of Irfaan Ali. If we can’t reopen those three estates and find work for the people, we will be just as bad as them. He is committed to doing that.”
The PPP General Secretary also warned the supporters not to listen to the negatives, pointing out that had Anil Nandlall been the presidential candidate, the Government and its supporters would have found bad things to say about him too. “We believe we have a strong candidate and we will make sure that we put together a programme that will involve all our people.”
Jagdeo also promised to work with Ali, saying, “In this period…all of my skills, every single bit of it will be at his disposal … and I don’t have any apologies to make about it.” (Samuel Sukhnandan)