…says he voted on conscience, willing to take lie detector test
Former Alliance For Change (AFC) Member of Parliament Charrandas Persaud has revealed that persons have been investigating him, even checking on his bank account at Scotiabank.
Persaud was at the time appearing on a broadcast panel discussion organised by a local firm, Globespan Technology, on Saturday. According to Persaud, whose support of the no-confidence motion that toppled the Government made him a household name, these inquiries failed to unearth ‘dirty money’.
Making it clear that he has nothing to hide, Persaud said that “The only reason they’ve given up on (accusations of me) accepting bribes is because they checked through Scotiabank, my account there and they found no money… as a matter of fact they found that I owe on the same Prado… So they’ve given up (on proving I took a bribe).”
“They have nothing and will continue to find nothing. They’ve also given up on me buying $1 million in gold,” Persaud said, adding that the very man he was accused of negotiating the gold purchase with is affiliated with the Indigenous People’s Affairs Ministry.”
Persaud went on to throw down the gauntlet, saying that he was willing to take a lie detector test to prove he did not accept a bribe.
“Yes, I will submit to it. And I’ll tell you that they cannot, no matter what they do with it, find that I accepted bribe, because nobody offered me any money to say I’m bribing you to vote. I voted because of my conscience.”
The former MP also responded to Police Commissioner Leslie James, who was recently asked about reports that the Guyana Police Force was investigating Persaud. James had noted that such an investigation pertained to national security.
“The Commissioner of Police was grilled by reporters who asked a simple question: ‘James, you are investigating Charrandas Persaud for what criminal activity’. (He said) that is confidential. Why is he a threat to national security? That is confidential. The man had no answer for anything.
“So what they want the world to believe is that Charrandas is involved in something criminal, so that when he shows up at the borders they can arrest him and keep him locked up until he hangs himself in prison. They expect that I am going to be locked up. But they have nothing on me,” Persaud informed the panel.
In addition, Persaud addressed reports about the security escort that accompanied him to the Eugene F Correia airport on December 21, when he left the country after his conscience vote.
“The (State media) published that the persons who were with me were known criminals and former members of the death squad. Those are all (lies) that they are coming up with,” Persaud said.
According to the show’s presenters, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan and People’s National Congress (PNC) politician Aubrey Norton were also originally expected to join the discussion.
On December 21, the no-confidence motion brought by the parliamentary Opposition – the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) – against the Government succeeded when Persaud, at the time an AFC Member of Parliament, broke ranks and made a conscience vote in favour of the motion.
Outside the chambers, Persaud had had some harsh words for the Government while defending his vote. According to the MP, he had voted that way because of the AFC’s subordinate role to the majority A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
Persaud cited examples like Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence’s recent controversial statement about hiring party stalwarts, and pointed out that the AFC leadership did not condemn but rather condoned the statement.
At the time, the former MP had noted that his actions may have put his life in jeopardy. In fact, Persaud had mentioned specific threats to his life that he received only minutes after the vote.
Persaud had left the country that very night on a flight bound for Canada, where he has citizenship. Since then, there have been allegations floating around that Charrandas was seen leaving the National Assembly escorted by PPP member Peter Ramsaroop.
However, on Wednesday, Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo dismissed these claims as mischievous, saying that the businessman was free to befriend whomever he wants to, even if it’s persons from the opposite side of the House.
Meanwhile, Ramsaroop has also denied any wrongdoing, telling reporters on Wednesday that Persaud had requested his help – something which he would have done for any of his friends.
However, Ramsaroop’s support for Persaud has caused the Ogle Airport Inc to suspend protocol passes over an alleged security breach. This order came from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), although the Airport insisted it did not breach any protocols.
According to reports, a Canadian diplomat, along with Ramsaroop, had obtained protocol passes to see Persaud off at the Eugene F Correia Airport, hours after the December 21 sitting of the National Assembly.
It is being alleged that the security protocol was breached when Ramsaroop accompanied the diplomat and Persaud onto the tarmac of the East Coast Demerara airport since such passes are not valid for civilians.