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High Court asked to order Jagdeo produce Irfaan Ali’s qualifications

PPP General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo (left) and PPP presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali.

Two citizens have asked the High Court to order the Representative of the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) list of candidates, Bharrat Jagdeo to produce the academic qualifications of presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali in light of concerns that one of them might be fake.

Attorney-at-Law, Stephen Lewis, for the applicants Dianna Deravinne Rajcumar and Phillip Marcus, wants the High Court to declare that they are “entitled to know the qualification antecedents” of Ali.

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is named as the second respondent.

Rajcumar and Marcus say that in keeping with their constitutional right to freedom of expression, “in particular to receive ideas and information without interference” and their constitutional “right to vote” they “have a right to information on the candidates for the election” including their educational background.

“Consequent on their constitutional right to vote, they are entitled to know the educational antecedents of the candidates to access, process and interpret along other with information, before deciding to vote for a candidate, and “the applicants, as persons, intending to exercise their right to vote are entitled to be privy to facts giving insight in the candidate’s capacity and suitability for acting as a President, Parliamentarian or a legislator including details of his/her life educational qualifications,” Rajcumar and Marcus said in court papers filed through their lawyer, Lewis.

Rajcumar is an aide to the Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan.

Attorney-at-Law Stephen Lewis.

The applicants want the High Court to order disclosure of Ali’s first degree certificate and transcripts for any first degree conferred on him and information on the name of the university, or institution issuing the first degree within seven days of the date of the Order.

Further , they want information setting out whether the candidate Mohamed Irfaan Ali was issued with a certificate of graduation, which states that it was issued by the Business College, West Demerara Chamber of Commence, within seven days of the date of the Order; information on whether any studies at the said Business College, West Demerara Chamber did lead to a bachelor’s degree in planning within seven days of the date of the Order; a copy of any transcript issued by the said Business College, West Demerara Chamber in respect of a BA Degree in Planning within seven days of the date of the Order; information on whether any Degree was obtained by the Candidate Mohamed Irfaan Ali from the University of Sunderland within seven days of the date of the Order; a copy of the Certificate of any said Degree from the University of Sunderland along with any transcripts from the University of Sunderland in relation to any Degree obtained by the candidate Mohamed Irfaan Ali from the University of Sunderland within seven days of the date of the Order.

Alternatively, an Order that the second named respondent produce for the applicants’ perusal the First Degree Certificate and Transcripts for any First Degree conferred on to the Candidate Mohamed Irfaan Ali within seven days of the date of the Order, the name of the University, or institution from which the said First Degree was obtained within seven days of the date of the Order; Information concerning the nature of the study completed in relation to the any First Degree within seven days of the date of the Order; information setting out whether the Candidate Mohamed Irfaan Ali was issued with a Certificate of Graduation, which states that it was issued by the Business College, West Demerara Chamber within seven days of the date of the Order; information whether any studies at the said Business College West Demerara Chamber did lead to a BA Degree in Planning within seven days of the date of the Order; a copy of any transcript issued by the said Business College West Demerara Chamber in respect of a BA Degree in Planning within seven days of the date of the Order; information whether any Degree was obtained by the Candidate Mohamed Irfaan Ali from the University of Sunderland within seven days of the date of the Order; a copy of the Certificate of any said Degree obtained from the University of Sunderland along with a Transcripts obtained from the University of Sunderland in relation to any Degree obtained by the Candidate Mohamed Irfaan Ali from the university of Sunderland within seven days of the date of the Order or such other order the Court deems just.

Rajcumar said she and Marcus decided to move to the court after she observed that Ali was refusing to be forthright in answering questions and providing information surrounding his qualification.

She says that on or about the 29th January, 2020, she wrote a letter to Jagdeo as the head of the List of Candidates for the PPP/C in which she sought information on Ali.

Rajcumar and Marcus say that as far as they are aware, Ali did not make a statutory declaration as a candidate on the PPP’s List of Candidates stating his qualifications and consent.