…says allegations intended to take him out of PPP presidential race …pursuing PhDPeople’s Progressive Party (PPP) parliamentary frontbencher, Irfaan Ali has come out swinging at those who are purporting that he has misrepresented his academic qualifications.Ali on Saturday refuted these claims, saying the information being peddled is intended to derail his efforts to become the presidential candidate for his party.Ali noted that his certification, including diplomas and degrees, are already in the public domain. In addition, the former Housing Minister revealed that he is awaiting additional transcripts from institutions he has studied, even as he has already written his dissection for his PhD.“I have never presented any inaccurate academic achievements. I will not give credence to such organised slander to discredit my wide-ranging academic progress by responding to every single element of the mischievous information being peddled and which objective is to undermine my effort to serve as the PPP Presidential Candidate,” Ali stated.Ali noted that he would have no hesitation to make this information public when he receives it. Guyana Times understands that the MP has in fact submitted a PhD dissertation for examination on the topic: “Design and Development of an Integrated Land Management Model in Guyana” since September 2018 and is currently awaiting the result from the evaluation.Ali is among several other Executive Committee members of the PPP vying for the Party’s Presidential Candidate position. Over the past week, reports have been carried in the media that questioned the veracity of his qualifications. The reports have questioned whether Ali was qualified for the Master’s Degree he did on an India Technical and Economic Cooperation scholarship.Already, former Labour Minister, Dr Nanda Gopaul, has defended Ali’s participation in the programme. According to Gopaul, reports making their rounds that discredit Ali’s credentials are misleading.“At the time of Mr Ali’s nomination for that programme, I was Head of the Public Service and Permanent Secretary, Public Service Ministry (PSM) responsible for training. I can attest to the fact that Mr Ali was fully qualified and had the requisite skills and experience for his Master’s Degree programme,” Gopaul had written in a letter to the media.“Mr Ali did Guyana proud by graduating with a high First Class Honours. On his return to Guyana, he was elected as President of the ITEC, Alumni Association and participated in several ITEC day activities hosted by the Indian High Commission in Guyana.”Ali was first appointed a Minister in 2009 in then President Bharrat Jagdeo’s Government. Previously, he had served at the technical level in various Government departments. Besides his Master’s Degree from ITEC, he holds post graduate qualifications in business management.Under the Donald Ramotar administration, he served as Housing; Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister.Ali emerged as an early potential for presidential candidate, following the coalition Government’s fall to a no-confidence vote on December 21, 2018, which makes way for General and Regional Elections within 90 days from that date as per the Constitution.The No-confidence Motion brought by the parliamentary Opposition against the Government succeeded when Charrandas Persaud, a former Alliance For Change Parliamentarian, broke rank and made a conscience vote in favour of the motion.As a result of this, the PPP began its search for its presidential candidate within its executive for which Ali has since indicated his interest.