By: Lakhram Bhagirat
One of the first and foremost thing parents do is to support their children’s dream. It does not matter how out of reach that dream may seem, they support it and push their children to accomplish that.
That has been the role of parents Bibi Shariman and Mohamed Osman Ali and 40 years later, they are seeing their baby’s dreams become a reality. To say that the parents of newly minted President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali are proud would be a gross misrepresentation of their emotions at the time of their son’s swearing-in.
However, their pride did not just manifest itself when their son was declared as President rather it has always been there.
Mrs and Mrs Ali sat down with this publication amidst the hustle and bustle at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Sunday – less than an hour after their son took his Oath of Office to serve the Guyanese people for the next five years.
The way Mrs Bibi Shariman Ali spoke about President Ali is enough for one to conclude that she is filled to the brim with pride. She took us back decades into their home when she related that the presidency has always been a dream of her son.
Back when President Ali was in secondary school, he was entertaining the family and asserted that he would become President one day. It was something his parents just seemingly brushed off but for him, it was the goal.
He worked arduously to ensure that he was priming himself to accomplish exactly what he set out to become.
“We are really, really, really proud and it is humbling. That is why I said emotions are mixed because when I look at his childhood, look back at everything else, it makes me believe that whatever you feel you can achieve you can because from a little boy he was saying that he would be President. When he was in high school, he was the family comic and he always used to entertain us and one time when he was entertaining us, he was pretending to be the President and he said he will be the President,” Mrs Ali recounted.
Seeing her youngest child achieve his dream is a feeling, Mrs Ali wishes every parent experiences.
As a mother to two boys, she remembers being quite often asked whether she misses the presence of a daughter but would always respond in the negative. She explained that her sons, particularly President Ali, was exceptionally kind and caring.
She also noted that as parents, both she and Mr Ali made sure their sons were kind and generous and to this date, the kindness and generosity have stuck with them.
When he decided to enter the political realm by joining the Progressive Youth Organisation (PYO) – the youth arm of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) – they were skeptical but nevertheless supportive.
“As parents, we always tried to support him and we never let him feel that you can’t be that or it’s too much for you. We would smile and the support is always there. Even when he joined the PYO we were very supportive. It was very hard at times because when your son is in politics, and he was the one who is always in the forefront, as parents you worry sometimes but we never discouraged him. Most I would do is pray for him to make sure that he is safe and everything is fine with him,” the proud mother said.
Mr and Mrs Ali are cognisant of the struggles their son went through post-March 2 up until the declaration of results. They know that his assumption to the presidency comes after a long-fought battle to restore democracy to Guyana – a nation which is poised to undergo major economic transformation due to its newfound oil wealth.
His journey to the presidency commenced in January of 2019 when he was elected to lead the PPP/C’s List of Candidates after the Party toppled the incumbent in a vote of no-confidence on December 21, 2018.
“It feels so surreal because this process was such a long process you know and every time you think something will happen, then something crops up, so it is kind of surreal. It’s a proud but humbling moment for us. It is very surreal,” Mrs Ali said.
Meanwhile, the seemingly reserved Mr Mohamed Osman Ali could not help but beam at his son’s accomplishments.
“This is something that had me stunned until it came to reality. I was home relaxing so when he told me (to get ready for the swearing-in) I felt so great knowing that Irfaan has been a boy who has been very committed very dedicated and he never gives up. He loves humanity, he loves Guyana, he loves the people of Guyana and I am sure he would serve all the people of Guyana,” the proud father related.
He said that his son is someone who cares and is all about progressing Guyana to where it is supposed to be. He assured all Guyanese that President Ali will ensure that there is development for every one of them.
When asked about how he, as a parent took to the unwarranted criticisms his son had to face, the elder Ali noted that it was very disturbing when the questions began to swirl around about his son’s qualifications.
“We all know in honesty that he worked hard. He was very committed to his studies and whatever he achieved, it was achieved with honesty and pride. The past five months was somewhat difficult because it’s your son and there’s a feeling for him and when one would sit and see and hear all these talks and distortion of facts and all of that it, makes you feel like something is going wrong,” he said.
However, he would always advise his son not to quit on his dreams and to keep fighting because it makes the end results even more worthy.
Meanwhile, Mrs Ali added that she would also encourage their son to never give up. She noted that it is not mere rhetoric when her son says he will govern for all the people, explaining that Guyanese should expect him to be a President for all since he is someone who would not judge you based on ethnicity or social class.
“Believe that when he promises to be President for the people, he will hold that. I know him, he is very, very genuine when it comes to that. He loves the people, he loves this country, it is the very core of him and I know my son more than anybody else.
“You can expect that he will work very hard. I know him and he puts a lot of energy into his work. He likes to get things done quickly. You will see inclusive Government and I believe he will keep that promise and he will make sure that all Guyanese feel that they’ve won this election,” she said.
She told Guyanese to expect hard work and commitment from their new President since he is exactly that person.
From a boy with a humble upbringing on the West Coast of Demerara village of Leonora, President Mohamed Irfaan Ali now ascends to the highest office in the land with the promise to govern with the best interest for all.
It is a promise his parents said he will keep, noting that they “will be there to make sure he does.” [Republished from the Guyana Times]