Dr Ali took the Oath of Office at a hurried ceremony on Sunday afternoon at the Arthur Chung Conference Center before Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag), Justice Yonette Cummings Edwards.
In his inargural address, the new president Dr. Irfan Ali, spoke of the prospects of unity under the new People’s Progressive Party Government.
“We will not disappoint you,” Ali said, calling for unity among Guyanese as the PPP commences its work in Government.
“We thank you sincerely for your confidence and your trust but you will know that in voting for the PPP you’ve elected a Government to serve all the people of Guyana and that is what we will be doing,” Dr Ali added.
The new President said he looked forward to a smooth transmission in Government, noting that he will move swiftly to appoint and name his new cabinet so that the work of Government can commence instantaneously.
“You will have a Government that is accessible and one that will be more than willing to share with you information as we work on building our Guyana in the interest of all,” he said.
Heads of the Army, Police and Fire Service along with senior members of the PPP were present along with several heads of overseas missions.
Former head of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Mark Phillips who will serve as Prime Minister in the new government, joined Ali.
Former President David Granger was not in attendance.
Ali was sworn in as President following a five-month-long delay in the declaration of the results due to several court challenges that begun following the Region 4 tally and prior to a GECOM declaration in the first count, by the Peoples Progressive Party.
Ali served in the former PPP government as Minister of Housing and Minister of Tourism. He is married to Arya Ali and fathers a son.
The former Housing Minister in the last PPP government which served some 22 years in office, is facing is 19 counts of fraud fraud before the courts in Guyana, for allegedly conspiring to defraud government of a total of GYD$174 million by selling several acres of state lands way below the market price to several high ranking public officials.
Last November, he was hauled before the courts where the fraud charges were read to him; they were indictable and he was not required to enter a plea.
Ali faced 19 indictable charges for conspiring with unknown persons to sell lands at Goedveragting-Sparendaam, East Coast Demerara to recklessly sell the house lots for GYD$39.8 million. The Guyana Police Force Special Organised Crime Unit said the lands were actually valued a total of GYD$212.4 million at the time of their sale mostly in 2010 and 2011.
Attorney-at-Law Priya Manickchand said Ali was innocent as the lands were sold under a national policy. “He is aware of what he did as part of a national policy. He did nothing wrong,” she said. She said the charges were trumped up and politically motivated at the time of the national budget, the coalition’s poor performance at local government elections and the opposition People’s Progressive Party about to decide on its presidential candidate for the 2020 general elections.
According to the police, among those, charged for getting state lands at significantly reduced purchase prices were then President Bharrat Jagdeo and former Public Service Minister Dr. Jennifer Westford.
Figures show that Jagdeo in September, 2010 bought a parcel of land for GYD$2.3 million although its value is GYD$10.6 million. He also bought another parcel GYD$7.5 million although it was valued at GYD$32.7 million.
In relation to the sale to Dr. Westford, she acquired her parcel for GYD$1.5 million instead of the valuation price of GYD$7.3 million.
Then Ambassador George Hallaq and his wife bought land at the same East Coast Demerara location for GYD$5 million instead of the valuation price of GYD$29.7 million.
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