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Guyana’s highest political leader, President Irfaan Ali, and political scientist, Dr. David Hinds are at it. The former reportedly referred to the latter as a “joker;” and the latter said, “I wanted to ask him if he could spell ‘joker,’ but didn’t want to embarrass him further…he is such an unintelligent little boy.” The incident occurred last Tuesday whilst the President was on the East Coast Demerara (ECD).
Hinds, appearing on Mark Benschop’s ‘Straight Up’ programme, addressed the name hurling and accused Mr. Ali of demeaning the presidency. Sharing his recall of the incident, Hinds said the President was in Buxton ECD, at a corner shop with his friends, and as he was passing he enquired of the people about the gathering. When he was told it was President Ali, his response was, “you all have an esteemed visitor.” President Ali, reportedly after hearing Hinds’ voice said, “who is that joker.” Hinds’ attempt to respond was reportedly prevented by security personnel who ushered him away, he said.
Hinds not only condemned the reported behaviour but took aim at the President’s intellect and ability to articulate. Going further, he said regardless of what you may say of Guyana, they were previous presidents who dignified the office compared to the incumbent. Rhetorically he asked, Can you imagine a Forbes Burnham, Cheddie Jagan or a Donald Ramotar behaving in that manner?
It is the political scientist’s opinion that Mr. Ali has brought down the esteem of the office. “He is unfit for the Office of the Presidency.” He wondered aloud, how people could respect Mr. Ali as a president, but made it clear, he will no longer respect him in future because he has disrespected the dignity of the office. Noting while he had his problems with Mr. David Granger, as President, Mr. Granger dignified the Office but not so for Mr. Ali.
To Hinds, the name hurling is not the issue. It is not about being reportedly referred to as a “joker,” it is the disrespect Mr. Ali has brought to the presidency and this should be of concern to the people. Hinds is adamant the President has “brought down the dignity of his office” and Guyana has become a tragedy, which is really, really sad.
Responding to Hinds’ recount of the incident the host, Benschop, said the reported reference could be construed as racist. JR Crawford, also on the show, said it was uncalled for and that the installed People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government has no respect for the people.
Crawford likened the Buxton incident to what happened at Pegasus when Mr. Ali was part of an unruly crowd, composed of PPP/C leaders and supporters, that attempted to attack a vehicle then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Karen Cummings was in. The incident Crawford referred to occurred 19th September 2019 at a luncheon hosted by the Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association (GMSA) at the Pegasus Hotel.
At that event, the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson and Minister Karen Cummings were blocked and chased by PPP/C supporters when they attempted to enter the Pegasus Hotel compound. Police reinforcement had to be summoned to guarantee the peace and safety of ministers and attendees.
It is Crawford’s opinion; the new PPP/C leadership cannot change. And to Hinds- the President is “a little short tail boy…who doesn’t know better,” and the Party is treating poor people, including their own supporters, and Black people with contempt.