The recent arrest of former PPP Government Minister and Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Irfaan Ali has not gone down well with the Opposition, which says it is not just another ‘act of oppression’ but also a high level of desperation being displayed by its leaders.
One day after Ali was released on self-bail for what the PPP says are trumped up charges, Opposition Leader and General Secretary (GS) of the PPP Dr Bharrat Jagdeo said that Ali will remain as the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee as he condemned Government for the PPP member’s early morning arrest, noting that this shows the Administration’s desperation.
“Every time they’ve needed him they could call him, any PPP member, you know that they can call you in at 7 and people would’ve gone in…to show up at his home at 4 in the morning to send a message, this is the vindictive nature of this Government, he could’ve easily gone their anytime in the day” Jagdeo said.
Jagdeo surmised that the pending no-confidence motion he filed and the fact that his Party defeated the APNU and AFC at the Recent Local Government polls, were contributing factors that led to this Administration pursuing Ali in such fashion.
Media operatives also raised questions following expressed concerns by some PPP members that they are possibly being followed.
“They must have been watching his behaviour and patterns, etc to know to show up there early in the morning, so knowing this Government, I will not put it past them to have a unit watching everybody in the PPP” the former President suggested.
According to SOCU, Ali “recklessly” sold 19 plots of East Cast Demerara land at Goedverwagting and Sparendaam, below their valued prices for $39.8 million when they were actually valued $212.4 million at the time of their sale.
The PPP says the charges follow threats by Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan who allegedly told Ali in the National Assembly that he will be charged and Ali’s fellow MP and attorney, Anil Nandall that he will be convicted.
“This whole façade that they cobble together in unity and togetherness with late night meetings in private homes and with hastily arranged press conferences at Congress Place with a mob criticizing the reporters, those were just manifestations of them becoming desperate and unhinged and we know that once that happens, the true nature of the leaders would be revealed“ Jagdeo noted.
In response to the charges, Ali told reporters that he is confident in the country’s justice system and that he would be vindicated of the 19 charges.
“I have nothing to fear. I have served and I’ve served to the best of my ability and I will continue to do so without fear or favour… We will defend this, we will defend everything that they throw before us because we believe in what we did. We did it with honesty and integrity and… the only condition that we did it in was in service to the people of this country,” he posited.
Former Attorney General, who is one of the Attorneys representing Ali, had said that none of the charges brought against Ali stated that he profited from the sale of the lands for which he is being charged.
“It was a policy of the Government at the time not to sell at a high price…so the charges have no merit whatsoever but they have been in the public domain for the past two years and suddenly, out of the blues, just before the budget debate begins and after the filing of a no-confidence motion you find one of our members in the National Assembly being prosecuted at the level of the Privileges Committee, you have Ali being arrested at four in the morning for charges that were in the air for two years” Nandlall condemned.