Almost five years after the Parliamentary vote that led to the shift in Guyana’s political leadership, former A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Member of Parliament (MP) Charandass Persaud has shared why he took the stand that he did at that time.
Persaud says the removal of the then governing APNU/AFC Government was paramount.
The former MP, who was a guest on the ‘Guyanese Critic’ produced ‘The Gildarie-Freddie Kissoon show,’ has apologised to citizens for being a ‘yes man’ for three and a half years, without having a say in the decisions made by the APNU+AFC government.
Reflecting on his vote against his government, Charandass said he was well aware and prepared for his support towards the no-confidence motion that was moved by the then opposing People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) in 2018.
On December 21, 2018, Persaud voted ‘yes’ with the PPP/C opposition causing uproar among the APNU+AFC, eventually leading to the March 2, 2022, General and Regional Elections.
“That night I had given up, not on nothing else but on life itself, I knew that I wasn’t getting out of Parliament and I wasn’t getting out of Guyana period, because I knew the nature of the beast, I knew the people I was dealing with, and I knew that by supporting the no-confidence motion, because I knew I would support the no-confidence motion before I got in Parliament that Friday and I’m saying this now, my brothers and sisters, of Guyanese origin and the rest of you […] I knew I was gonna vote yes in that no-confidence against the government,” Charandass stated.
Persaud went on to say that the then Prime Minister Moses Nagomotoo had informed the backbenchers of Parliament to vote in favour of whatever the government at that time proposed.
“But how can we do that? It was Rutheford, Rajkumar, Charandass, three people on the government side who would have to vote first, and we were told to support the government, anything, any policy, and any bill we were supposed to support, but that’s not what we’re here for.”
Persaud made it clear that he joined the APNU+APNU coalition, not for the People’s National Congress party but to be the ‘pound weight’ of the scale to control the PPP/C.
That is why, he added that his vote, which was made consciously, was paramount and necessary to remove the AFC from a position that it had taken in betrayal of what the party stood for then.
“We were not supposed to blend with the PNC; we were supposed to be a control things and control the PPP as well as the PNC but what we did is we took control of parliament, of government and ignored the people.”
As a consequence of his vote, Charandass was expelled from his party. He says he was terrified and did not know if he was going to be alive even when he was out of the country.
“Until I was in Barbados, full away from Guyana, I did not feel safe. I felt even up to then; I would die…[…] at that stage, I knew that I would die, and I was content to go this way because I did what I had to do, and I knew that I had to do it because nobody else was going to do it.”
“You cannot, as AFC did, in the coalition, put about a 120,000 people on the breadline […] and I could not allow that to continue because you saw other atrocities.”