Letter: Dr Irfaan Ali provokes interest


Dear Editor,

There is indeed an overall positive buzz in Guyana, and around the world too; and, of course, I mean because of Guyana.

However, we must not forget the man who is the driving force in all of this. I speak here of the young and energetic President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, who was born on April 25, 1980 in the little sugar estate village of Leonora, known for its bucolic ambience. He is the second son of Bibi Shariman and Mohamed Osman Ali, who diligently parented him and his older brother, the only other sibling in the family, in a simple but disciplined manner, ensuring for him love for education, reverence for God, and empathy with humanity. We are now seeing the fruition of these implants, and are starting to benefit from them.

Dr Irfaan Ali provokes interest, and so I took my time and read carefully what is in the public domain, and I discovered many anecdotes attesting to his filial nature even as a child, when he was known for being supportive of his parents. Steeped in a rich country life, with a proclivity for the adventurous, Dr. Irfaan always manifested traits of family fealty, as he proved to be an affectionate and responsible son, who even home-cared his father after a bout of illness descended on the ‘old man’ who nurtured him.

Is it any wonder then that at times Dr. Irfaan, in addressing national issues, comes over as a Big Brother, interceding for those who are in pain? One only has to revisit the devastation from the recent May-June floods to get a peek into his bleeding heart.

I gleaned that, during his formative years, he never lost track of his goal, that of becoming the President of Guyana, even though many flippantly dismissed him and his lofty, yet noble ambition. So fixated on his dream, Dr. Ali, as a young and growing prodigy, remained obdurate in his pursuit of education and training. The records show that he is a past student of the Leonora Nursery and Primary schools and Cornelia Ida Primary. From these, he progressed to, and completed his secondary education at, the prestigious and citified St. Stanislaus College in Georgetown. From such a solid, almost stoic foundation, the determined erstwhile country boy reached academic excellence and zenith when all things culminated in his successful reading for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of the West Indies in October 2019.

The evidence is stark clear. He is worthy of his current role. But I gathered more in this regard.

Dr. Irfaan Ali’s actual preparation for the Presidency of Guyana goes well beyond what was adumbrated in his formative years, as a Leonora lad immersed in his educational development. It is well known that he previously served as a member of the National Assembly of Guyana in 2006. He then swiftly transitioned to the portfolios of Minister of Housing and Water and Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, positions that allowed him to hone his skills of human resource management, entrepreneurship, and motivation of people.

Boundless in energy and single-minded in purpose, Dr. Ali evinced very pronouncedly during these times a sense of commitment, maturity and goal-orientedness, traits that are already overt in his incipient days after a mere year as a young President.

During all this time, the ‘building up’ really, Dr. Ali intermittently tasted the role for which he was seemingly predestined, as he had to perform the functions of President and Prime Minister on separate occasions. This eventuated to a most promissory event when, in 2015, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) went into Opposition, during which time he served as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee and Co-Chair of the Economic Services Committee of the Parliament of Guyana.

Having now gone the full circle of being in Government to that of being hurled into the Opposition, the once precocious boy, now seasoned politician, was fully tested and set for his next stop, that is, becoming the Presidential Candidate of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) for the March 2020 Guyana Elections.

Thus, in many ways, there was not a tincture of surprise when he ascended to presidential office on August 02, 2020. This was more like the culmination of a quest, divine in origin and recognised by all. In being officially declared as Guyana’s ninth Head of State, Dr. Irfaan Ali became the first Muslim President of Guyana, joining the late Noor Hassanali of Trinidad and Tobago, whose tenure was from March 19, 1987 to March 19, 1997, as only the second Muslim Head of State in the Western Hemisphere.

A whole lot has been promised then. His deportment effuses a new Guyana. “Cometh the hour, cometh the man?” Maybe, this is a case of “Cometh Dr. Irfaan, cometh the Hour,” that of authentic prosperity.

H Singh