Last Updated on Thursday, 6 August 2020, 8:21 by Denis Chabrol
Former backbencher of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)-led coalition, Charrandass Persaud, who voted for a People’s Progressive Party (PPP)-sponsored no-confidence motion that eventually led to the March 2, 2020 general elections is advising those two major political parties not to take Guyanese for granted.
Mr. Persaud, who has been living in Canada ever since he voted for the Bharrat Jagdeo-sponsored no-confidence motion in December 2018, said the PNCR-led A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition now needs to take stock of its mistakes while in government and make the necessary changes.
He reasoned that the coalition lost this year’s general elections because they lost the confidence of Guyanese who voted for them in 2015. “If they do not try to recoup what they have lost, if they do not try to do damage control; they have five years to do it, they may never win another election, they would not even come close to winning an election” Mr. Persaud said on a Facebook video. APNU+AFC maintains that the PPP engineered electoral fraud to regain power and plans to challenge the results in an election petition to the High Court.
Referring to the extended period that the PNC had been in power from 1964 to 1992 and the PPP from 1992 to 2015, he said Guyana’s voter preference has shifted from being entrenched to dynamic. “You can get a second term if the people like you, if we the people are satisfied with your performance, we may consider voting for you again,” he said.
Turning his attention to the PPP-led administration of President Dr. Irfaan Ali, he warned them about the fate of the David Granger-led administration when he voted for the passage of the no-confidence motion by an absolute majority of 33 votes in the 65-seat National Assembly. “Look at how the last government fell. Look at how embarrassing it was for us and them because of them. That should not happen again. Do not neglect the people. Work towards making Guyanese happy,” he said. Mr. Persaud said the PPP could win the 2025 elections if it tackles issues such as constitutional reform, judicial reform and overhauling the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) which has been blamed for the electoral debacle this year. He questioned how come the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield and the Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo are still on the job.
He called for a number of judges to be removed especially from the Guyana Court of Appeal because they allegedly made “political decisions.” He also wants all the staff of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to be fired.
The former AFC executive member also urged the Ali-led administration to address the crime situation that has been discouraging visitors and investors from going to Guyana. “The number of illegal guns in the country that are causing so much grief to so many people need to be taken care of. That has to stop. People must feel secured,” he said.
After a long-running court battle, the Caribbean Court of Justice validated the no-confidence motion in July, 2019 but it was not until December that then President David Granger had dissolved Parliament and called the elections on the grounds that GECOM had not been previously ready to conduct the elections.
There were also protracted delays and a court battle over the constitutional appointment of a GECOM Chairman. The CCJ subsequently ruled that Retired Justice James Patterson’s appointment had been unconstitutional. Current GECOM Chairman, Retired Justice Claudettte Singh was subsequently appointed.