–where Irfaan earned his first degree
Dear Mr. Editor,
I WILL begin this very interesting, thought- provoking and hopefully debate-stimulating missive by requesting of the reader to don their futuristic lenses to examine, with HD clarity, a significant event of 2020. I am not alluding to Guyana’s elections; that will be a landslide, no-contest and anticlimax that should not be delved into now.
Neither am I alluding to Guyana’s fist-oil production. Frankly, we’ve heard so much about it, that I have placed that into the well of the mundane. America’s election outcome is predictable: The fall of the inept and the rise of the competent and first female President. That is newsworthy, but still not newsworthy enough for my literary attention. What about the Tokyo Olympics? Yes, that’s it!
So now we are in the realm of the prospective, taking in the Olympics on a bright July evening in 2020. Guyana has a world-renowned Olympic team to compete the 4x100m relay. Our team is the creme de la creme of the sprinting world, made up of athletes A, B, C, D. As expected, they out-ran both the Americans and Jamaicans to win Guyana’s first ever Olympic gold. Sorry, Michael Paris. There was just one problem. The starter, ‘Athlete A’, cheated. He tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. What should the International Olympic Committee (IOC) do?
1. Should they allow the Guyana team to keep the gold medal, since the rest of the team is innocent, but penalise ‘Athlete A’?
2. Should they cancel the gold medal, since Guyana’s start was unfair and unlawful, which positively contributed to the overall team’s performance? Also, without that unlawful start, it could be argued that Guyana might not have won. Michael, you are apparently back in play.
If you are struggling with the questions, then you can research why Bolt’s Olympic Gold tally was reduced from 9 to 8.
Now let’s look at 2019, through retrograde lenses. Irfaan Ali’s Olympic Academic Journey is our focus.
This was started at a tertiary institution in West Demerara. Brilliant start! Which positively influenced the next leg of his academic relay in India, where he gained a Master’s. This then led to the convoluted third leg of the relay, which ultimately resulted in Academic Olympic Gold at UWI: A PhD. In the midst of the champagne popping and Cuban cigar- smoking celebrations, concerns were raised about his start.
The tertiary institution in West Demerara could not be found; it never existed! The tertiary institution was never registered in Guyana! Fraud. Cheat. False start are words being bellowed by all and sundry. What actions should the Higher Education Regulatory Body take against Ali?
1. Should Irfaan be allowed to keep the gold medal (PhD), since the rest of the team (degrees) are allegedly clean?
2. Should they initiate investigations into Irfaan’s fraudulent start, with the assistance of the University in India, where he received a Master’s. This investigation may very well result in Irfaan’s gold medal being rescinded, since, in all likelihood, his start was unlawful.
And the product of this unlawful start is what was used to apply for
other degrees, hence making them invalid. Also, without that unlawful
start, it could be argued that Irfaan would not have gotten those other
degrees, and ultimately the academic gold medal.
I think you get my point, since this has always been my position. If one is to use a fraudulent CXC certificate to apply for a university first degree, then automatically, by virtue of the CXC certificate being fraudulent that would invalidate your university first certificate.
Some may argue that if the certificate(s) was/were fraudulent, then UWI would have picked them up. That is a fallacious argument. UWI would have only been concerned with his Master’s degree for the PhD. The fact that he produced a Master’s degree, then they would have taken it as a given that he has valid undergraduate degrees. For example, when I applied for my first medical job at GPHC, I only had to produce my medical degree.
They’re careless about CXC or A-Level certificates, since they take it as a given that I have those, by virtue of being the holder of a medical degree. When I applied as a specialist, all I ever had to show was my specialist certificate, and the fact that I am on the specialist register. They would reasonably assume that the other degrees are a given. If I choose to undertake a PhD, which I once considered, all the university would be interested in is my Master’s and the grade of my Master’s. The UWI’s actions would not be unusual.
So, where do we go from here?
1. Ali should come clean about this West Demerara “University”. Failing that, then the tertiary level regulatory/registration body in Guyana should write to the university in India, raising their concerns about the transcript and certificate Ali used to apply for his Master’s. It is very likely that Ali’s Master’s would be rescinded after an investigation, culminating in a cascading of other degrees, including his PhD. I say this, not in a celebratory mode, but more out of fairness and rule of law.
For those who interpret my letters, and the news reporters who continue to keep this issue topical, as casting negative aspersions on Irfaan Ali’s reputation, I must hasten to add that Ali’s damaged reputation is multi-factorial, and down to his making. Ali was made persona non grata in Canada because of his actions. Ali is facing 19 criminal charges, because of his actions. Ali’s academic credentials are under a cloud; again, down to his actions and inactions.
No amount of PhDs will clear that up until he comes clean about the West Demerara “University”. Ali’s reputation was damaged by his own political party, which does not see him as an asset; rather he is deemed a puppet while Jagdeo runs the show like if he is the Presidential Candidate, while Ali is inconspicuous and quietly in the background like a church mouse.
Probably they are aware of something we do not know. What remained of Ali’s severely damaged reputation was finally laid to rest by his thuggish actions in front of the Minister’s vehicle. Threatening to assault and turn turtle the vehicle while assaulting the Foreign Affairs Minister. That was the action of a man that has no good reputation to defend. A man who is unfit to be President.
Finally, you must have heard of the
concept, “proceeds of crime were confiscated”. If you have not, then
speak to Jagdeo and Ramotar about Khemraj Lall. Once you understand
that, you will now understand my new term, “Proceeds of academic fraud
confiscated” That’s my simple mission.
The floor is now open to Ali, who is now a frequent letter writer, and his supporters.
Dr. Mark Devonish MBBS MSc Med. Ed FRCP(Edin) FRCP(UK)
Consultant Acute Medicine
Nottingham University Hospital