‘If I had to do it again, I would do it willingly’ – Charrandass Persaud
One year after he cast a vote in favour of the Opposition and toppled his own Government on a vote of No-Confidence, former Alliance For Change (AFC) Member of Parliament Charrandass Persaud has expressed no regret one year after the historic vote.
“Frankly if I had to do it again I would do it willingly,” Persaud said in a letter to the press as he reiterated that he was beyond sitting and looking on as his party –the AFC –became “yes men” to the People’s National Congress (PNC)- led coalition Government.
He referred to his other backbenchers in the National Assembly – Michael Carrington, Haimraj Rajkumar, and Audwin Rutherford – noting that prior to his vote, a meeting was requested with his party.
The former MP said the three members –who have built a camaraderie over the years –sent an email to current Leader of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo requesting a caucus between the AFC MPs before going into the National Assembly on December 21, 2018.
The aim was to decide at the party level what to support and what not to support.
But “that email met with a simple response from Nagamootoo..’vote when we vote.”
Persaud said the backbenchers had no say in anything and blindly supported Government bills which he thinks was wrong.
One of the issues which have and still affected the popularity of the Government has been its decision to close four sugar estates, leaving thousands of workers without a stable income.
This decision also caused some issue for the AFC which had a large support base in communities referred to as the sugar-belt and Persaud himself who lives a short distance from a sugar estate.
He said the AFC had no say on the issue adding that this should not have been the case since the party played a big role in getting the coalition into power.
“When it came to the closure of the sugar estates even Nagamootoo, as Prime Minister had no say. It was handed to us, the AFC and we embraced it,” he noted.
“Seven thousand workers were laid off on very short notice and had nothing to fall back onto. That means 28,000 persons were on the breadline. I could not then and still cannot digest that act of cruelty and unconscionable behaviour of the Government,” he added.
He again blasted his former party for doing nothing to get the laid-off workers their severance pay even after two years elapsed.
Persaud said he is now residing in a basement in Canada cannot stand the cold but he believes he is better off than the sugar workers.
Referring to accusations that he was bribed for his vote, Persaud pointed out that no evidence has been found and he has taken legal action against Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan for slander.
He later turned his attention to the past year, noting that the Government has wasted billions of dollars to reverse the NCM when he believes the coalition should have called elections and let the people decide.
As the country begins oil production, the former MP said he hopes oil experts will be hired to guide that Government on how to manage oil and spend oil money, that proper infrastructure is put in place and factories are set up so that Guyana can flourish.
He expressed his view against Cash disbursements as “very stupid and…backward.”