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Jagdeo, Peter Ramsaroop deny prior knowledge of Charrandas Persaud ‘Yes’ vote plans

Ramsaroop (left) accompanying Persaud out of Parliament Building compound. (Keno George photo)

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo said Dr. Peter Ramsaroop, the man who provided security cover for former government parliamentarian Charrandas Persaud, never told him of the recalled lawmaker’s plan to vote ‘Yes’ on the no-confidence motion that prompted plans for early general elections.

“No, he did not and, as I said before, Peter Ramsaroop is free to have friends wherever he wants,” Jagdeo said in response to a question by Demerara Waves Online News.

The no-confidence motion was sponsored by Jagdeo. However, the PPP leader said Ramsaroop assisted Persaud in his personal capacity. “Peter Ramsaroop acted in a capacity as an individual, not as a member of the People’s Progressive Party. He did not receive an instruction from the PPP nor did he report or seek permission from the PPP for his relationship with Charrandas or any other member of the parliament or anyone else or what took place on that night. It is as clear as daylight and we have said it a hundred, a million times,” he said.

Responding to questions on the issue, Jagdeo noted that Ramsaroop was a People’s Progressive Party (PPP) candidate for the 2015 general elections, and would most likely be again for the next polls, and that Ramsaroop “has been in the forefront” and “advises me on economic issues”.

Peter Ramsaroop seated immediately behind Charrandass Persaud (Keno George photo)

Reacting to allegations that Persaud had been bribed to vote ‘Yes’, Jagdeo denied this vehemently. “Whether there was an inducement for Charrandas to vote in this manner, the answer is categorically ‘No’,” he told a news conference.

For his part, Ramsaroop rejected suggestions that he betrayed Jagdeo by not telling him of Persaud’s plan to vote ‘Yes’ to allow the controversial passage of the no-confidence motion by 33 to 32 votes. “Absolutely not! I mean Charrandas is my friend. I don’t even know if he was gonna vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. He just said to me ‘If I decide to vote’ and he said that publicly ‘would you help me with security?’ and I said ‘absolutely yes'”, he said. Asked whether Persaud’s request implied that he would have voted ‘Yes’, Ramsaroop said “I didn’t know that”.

“If somebody ask for my help, is my friend, I don’t have to tell a single soul and I did that,” said Ramsaroop who had sat immediately behind Persaud throughout the no-confidence debate and voted, and later escorted Persaud through the Parliament Building back gate to a waiting car.

Chartered Accountant, Christopher Ram.

Jagdeo noted that Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram “sued me on a frivolous charge and I speak to Christopher Ram now.” “I put up his name as a nominee for GECOM. A man who took me to court, I had to go to court etc. and fight through that issue and then I put his name up to be head of GECOM.”  Jagdeo noted that several of his nominees for GECOM (Guyana Elections Commission) were past Alliance for Change (AFC) supporters. “I don’t allow personal issues or anything else to determine. I see the worth of people or their fairness or the contributions they can make. That is how I approach my politics and this country,” he said.

Ramsaroop has also found himself at the centre of a controversy over whether he obtained an airside pass for the Eugene F. Correia ‘Ogle’ International Airport by telling the Airport Duty Officer that he had been with the Canadian High Commission’s Security Officer, Richard Beliveau to accompany Persaud to a Barbados-bound LIAT flight on December 22, 2018.  Persaud has denied the airport’s claim, but the airport is relying on video surveillance recordings that show they had been together at all times.

The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority has since ordered the airport to suspend the issuance of protocol passes.