I WOULD argue that to become President, it is not a prerequisite that candidates be academically inclined. A humble truck driver would suffice, such as the present President of Venezuela.
I would also argue, without an iota of reservation, that anyone aspiring to be President MUST be trustworthy. This is more important when one considers that Guyana is on the verge of becoming the richest country in this hemisphere. Our President must be able to command the unconditional respect of us all and the international community.
Mr Editor, it is for these reasons I write today and humbly request to be indulged in your letter columns. We have been waiting with bated breath and cyanotic faces, for nearly a year for Irfaan Ali’s transcripts. Rumour has it that they were blown away by hurricane Dorian. A lifelong of “studies” gone with the wind and destroyed in seconds. As he mourns such a devastation, Bharrat Jagdeo, always the team player, steps in to fill the huge void. May I hasten to add to avoid confusion amongst the masses, that when I speak of huge void, I am in no way alluding to Irfaan’s central anatomy. Such “below the waist,” if it can be found, shots I would not reduce myself to.
So we are stuck, akin to the UK BREXIT drama. Our only option, gladly not a backstop, is to trace the universities in question. The beginning of the perfect start as we work our way along this labyrinthine academic journey. That brings us to the obscure and little known West Demerara ‘University,’ which counts Irfaan as its only student. The roles of chancellor, vice- chancellor, registrar, deans, lecturers, clerks and janitors all carried out by one person. Omnipotence personified. Not sure whose responsibility it was to design and print the certificates. No wonder the poor exhausted bloke retired after the “scholarly” Irfaan graduated. Talking about the graduation, the very gentleman was the guest speaker, photographer and videographer at the attendance of two, graduation ceremony. There goes that theory that we men can’t multitask. To get some clarity on the nature of the ‘university,’ questions were asked of the gentleman. Shockingly, he said to ask the student. Seriously? All questions redirected to Irfaan. A bit odd I thought, but then again this presidential candidate was made persona non grata by the Canadians. A first in Guyana’s post-independent history.
Anyway, around that time of the ‘transcriptgate,’ Irfaan boasted on social media that he had submitted his PHD thesis. What a convoluted and unconventional academic journey this gentleman took. That too is nearly a year ago. We have not heard anything since. The self-effacing presidential candidate, corporeally built like a bear, went into prolonged hibernation. Here we are, the electorate, none the wiser left to formulate our own conclusions. Was the thesis washed away with the recent floods on the West Demerara? Did the Trinidadians use it to make carnival costumes? Did his supervisor, the one-time UG vice-chancellor, use it to make dunce hats at UWI? We simply do not know.
My point Mr Editor is that Irfaan, of his own volition, proclaimed himself to be academically inclined. He did not have to. Donald Ramotar and Bharrat Jagdeo are not the brightest sparks but no one made that an issue. In the court of law if a witness is found to have lied to the court, regardless of how small the lie is, then any further testimony provided by that witness is considered not to be true. The witness is deemed not to be credible. What Irfaan Ali aspires to become is President and not just a simple witness. As a result, he should be held to a higher standard. Failing to provide his transcripts, evidence of the university attended and outcome of his self-confessed PHD thesis place him in a position of being unelectable.
Now we go to his 20 criminal charges. Yes 20, that’s not a typographical error. In my opinion he should have been charged for his intimidating behaviour outside Pegasus. This gentleman clearly cannot control a crowd of about 25 and himself included, then how could he govern a country of nearly one million, while maintaining a calm persona.
Finally, Irfaan, shall we address you as Dr Irfaan Ali, or should we wait a tad longer?
Dr Mark Devonish