New presidential candidate brings youth, financial skills to table – Jagdeo

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…cites grassroots work, performance in Housing and Water Ministries as election factors

With the election of former Housing and Water Minister Irfaan Ali as the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) presidential candidate, General Secretary (GS) Bharrat Jagdeo has affirmed that he brings a lot to the table.

Speaking with the media on Saturday after the election, Jagdeo pointed to the fact that Ali is a youth, who can resonate with voters and the young population that makes up the majority of Guyana’s demographics.

PPP/C’s Presidential candidate Irfaan Ali

“I think Ali is young; he can resonate with young voters. When you talk about youth, we are the party that lives this. I was the President of Guyana at 35 years old. This party here elected me for that. Ali is 38. He is the youngest of the candidates,” Jagdeo said.

“He’s had several years as Minister, in one of the largest ministries. He has delivered house lots to people across every single race and every single religion … and thousands of that. He was in charge of water, another big sector, and made a transformational impact in that period.”

He noted that any future Government must have delivering goods and services to the people at the forefront of the agenda, and added that while the present Government has failed in this regard, Ali’s experience bodes well for this.

The General Secretary then cited Ali’s work in charge of the PPP’s West Demerara grassroots network, especially for the last two Local Government Elections and the General and Regional Elections. He also noted that Ali has been the PPP’s Finance Secretary for years.

General Secretary of the PPP/C Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

Jagdeo also debunked assertions that the new presidential hopeful would be overshadowed by him owing to his work as General Secretary. Jagdeo reiterated that both he and Ali would have different roles to play and that he had no intention of abdicating his role as General Secretary.

“I have a job as General Secretary of the Party. Here, we’ve selected a presidential candidate. My job as GS of the Party is manifold. It’s to grow the Party; I’ve set myself the task of greater inclusion in the Party.”

“Number two is to galvanise this party to win power. That’s the role of a General Secretary. The candidate runs for the elections, but my job is to bring people together and work on a campaign strategy. And the campaign strategy is approved by the Party.”

Saturday’s election was conducted by way of secret ballot. Immediately prior to the elections, three candidates withdrew from the contest leaving former Attorney General Anil Nandlall and Ali as the two contestants.

Following the passage of the no-confidence motion in the National Assembly on December 21, 2018, the PPP began its search for a presidential candidate.

The no-confidence motion brought by the parliamentary Opposition against the Government succeeded when Charrandas Persaud, a former Alliance For Change (AFC) parliamentarian, broke ranks and made a conscience vote in favour of the motion.

While Ali will represent the PPP as the presidential candidate, media reports on party affairs in A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) suggest that incumbent President David Granger will run for re-election.

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