GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The two main political parties in Guyana have nominated their candidates for the 65-member National Assembly as well as regional councils ahead of the March 2 elections.
It was a carnival-type atmosphere on nomination day, January 10, as a total of 13 parties submitted candidates’ lists to contest the upcoming March 2nd general and regional elections.
Of all the parties, the incumbent A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition, the main opposition, People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), and the United Republican Party (URP) were the only parties seeking to run in all 10 regions.
President David Granger will be leading the ruling coalition, as he seeks another chance at re-election following his 2015 win.
Granger described his party’s candidates’ list as ‘a winning list’ adding “we have a proven record and the list of persons we have submitted, I am very sure will be able to do us proud in the National Assembly, in the Regional Democratic Councils and of course in the Cabinet”.
He told reporters the list shows a balance with “gender, youth, geographical spread” and that it contains “no surprises”.
But the PPP/C presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali, insisted that the party stands the better chance of winning the elections telling reporters “we have a list that is very diverse, a list that embodies competent, experienced, youth, energy (and) commitment.
“The list represents all of Guyana. The list represents what is needed to take our country forward. The lost that shows how we bring Guyana together and how we are presenting a national team to these elections,” he added.
But both Ali and Jagdeo shied away from questions being posed regarding the possibility of Ali being convicted on fraud-related charges arising out of his tenure as a government minister during the last PPP/C administration from 2011 to 2015.
“Today we start a journey to victory. That is the only thing on my mind. The only thing as presidential candidate on my mind is Guyana, moving Guyana forward and going on to victory,” Ali said, while both men later agreed that “we will deal with it at that point”.
Mohamed Irfaan Ali, a fourth-generation Indian, was recently slapped with 19 charges of fraud by the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) of the Guyana Police Force. The charges are relating to the sale of state lands in the ‘Pradoville 2’ Housing Scheme during Ali’s tenure as Housing Minister.
Ali has also been implicated in several scandals relating to fake academic certificates, some tied to institutions in India. News reports out of Guyana say he was implicated in academic fraud submitting a fake undergraduate degree to support his application for admission to the MA program at Indraprastha University (IU) in 2002.