GUYANA — Irfaan Ali has been chosen as the PPP/C’s presidential candidate for the next general elections.
The former Housing Minister defeated former Attorney General Anil Nandlall 24 to 11.
The secret balloting followed the withdrawal of three other candidates: Gail Teixeira, Vindhya Persaud and Frank Anthony, the Stabroek News reported.
In a statement issued on Saturday, th PPP said it concluded the process of electing its Presidential Candidate, “a process which lasted for nearly two months.”
The PPP said: “In accordance with the agreed process, the Central Committee elected Mohammed Irfaan Ali as the Party’s Presidential Candidate for the next National and Regional Elections. Five candidates expressed an intention to contest for this post. These were Anil Nandlall, Dr Frank Anthony, Dr Vindhya Persaud, Irfaan Ali and Gail Teixeira.
“Immediately prior to the elections Dr. Frank Anthony, Dr. Vindhya Persaud and Gail Teixeira withdrew from the contest leaving Nandlall and Ali as the two contestants. Ali received 24 votes and Nandlall received 11 votes from the 35 Member Central Committee, thereby making Ali the Presidential Candidate. After the vote the four other contenders congratulated Ali and pledged support to working towards a PPP/C victory.
“The 38 year old Ali has been a member of the PPP for over 20 years and a part of the leadership for 15 years where he held the position of Finance Secretary for several years. He served in the Cabinet for 7 years holding the portfolios of Minister of Housing and Water and Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce.
“The Party wishes to assure that despite a most rigorous and competitive campaign, the party remains united and stands firmly behind the Presidential Candidate and pledges to work fervently to deliver victory at the polls as we continue to struggle for a better Guyana.”
Ali in response, stated: “I am humbled to have been selected by my Party as the presidential candidate. I wish to express my sincerest gratitude to the leadership of the Party for reposing in me their confidence. I also thank the thousands, in and out of the Party, who have publicly and privately encouraged me to seek the Party’s nomination. I see myself as part of a broader team that will advance an agenda, which has as its primary focus, the people of our country.
“The assurance of my comrades, who also contested for the candidacy, to working as a team is evidence of a collective commitment to a united People’s Progressive Party (PPP). I commit, fully, to the programme of the Party, as it relates to delivering greater prosperity and progress for all our people, regardless of race, religion or gender, as well as to ensure the advancement of our nation.
“I am glad that the campaign is over. I hope that the rumor-mongering, which was clearly intended to spread division in our ranks and to disparage me and the other candidates, will now stop.
“Over the last 20 years, I have served my Party at regional and national levels. My work with the Progressive Youth Organization (PYO), since 1992, has given me a unique perspective of the challenges facing our youths and the opportunities that exist to enable them to actively participate in the governance of our country and being part of the solution. My Party’s decision to select me, as a young person, is testimony to our commitment to not only talk the talk about youth leaders, but actively facilitate this. I have been elected to the leadership of the Party for almost 15 years and served in various capacities, including as Finance Secretary. My grounding in the PPP has imbued me with a deep sense of commitment to the struggles of all our people, especially the vulnerable, and inspired a personal commitment to the people of Guyana.
“My experience in government has allowed me the opportunity to design and develop strategies and policies, consistent with the PPP’s manifesto, to overcome hurdles in key sectors. My experience at the technical level, at the State Planning Secretariat and as Head of the Caribbean Development Bank Project Implementation Unit (PIU), allowed me the opportunity of overseeing the design, management and implementation of various projects and programmes across Guyana. With seven years of Cabinet experience I was tasked with the management of large-scale projects, which resulted in the delivery of key goods and services to the Guyanese people.
“I believe that the experience I have acquired, both in government and as the Finance sector spokesperson for the Parliamentary Opposition, has positioned me to tackle some of the most severe challenges facing our people and country – the increasing levels of joblessness, increasing debt, deteriorating investor confidence, poor performance of the economy, poor implementation of the PSIP, incompetence in government, the diminishing of welfare programmes that benefited vulnerable groups, ill-informed decisions and taxation policies that has affected key sectors.
“I look forward, with great anticipation and with the support of my comrades to confront the many challenges that lie ahead to ensure that the People’s Progressive Party is returned to government so that we can resume the development agenda that will place our people and country back on the path of prosperity.”