There was drama around and behind Charrandass Persaud on the night of December 21st when he cast his controversial vote that saw the government fall.
Aside from nudging and hits from MPs on either side there were also audible warnings of death and several men moved menacingly behind him in the minutes that followed.
Government Parliamentarian Jennifer Wade has declined to comment on the claim made by Persaud that she threatened his life following his vote on December 21.
Persaud who voted in favour of an opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion has declared that following the vote he contacted the Canadian High Commission for protection because he was afraid for his life.
“I was afraid to be alone because of the threat I received in parliament by parliamentarians. The voice of Jennifer Wade was clear to me. I heard her saying `Charrandass you gon dead tonight’. Derek Basdeo, who is an AFC supporter… he came over and asked ‘what the (expletive) you doing?’ I had a right to be afraid”, he told this newspaper in an interview.
This is the second time Persaud has identified Wade as having threatened him, the first was during his December 26 Facebook Video where he defended his actions.
Just before Parliamentarian Volda Lawrence rose to unsuccessfully request that Speaker Dr Barton Scotland grant a two-minute time-out after Persaud’s vote, a female member of the Government side of House is heard saying “Charrandass you gon dead tonight.” As the cameras were focused on Lawrence there is no clear view of the member but Persaud has been consistent in identifying Wade.
This newspaper approached Wade during the dinner break at the last sitting for a response to the accusation but was told that she was not yet prepared to comment.
“I’ll talk about it at the next sitting,” she said in response to questions on the matter. The next sitting of the National Assembly has not been scheduled. According to sources at Parliament Office Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo who directs government activity in the House has not communicated a date for the next sitting.
Dereck Basdeo meanwhile has said that he did tell Persaud something he “shouldn’t have.”
“I was in a passion and knowing that I know the guy from Region 6. I dealt with him, I campaigned with him in 2011 and 2015. I’m with the AFC since 2005 and for all that blood and sweat coming back to Guyana from the US and for all that time spent you got a guy who didn’t do half as much…he’s like a snake,” a frustrated Basdeo told the Sunday Stabroek.
He further noted that he spent December 21 with Persaud and saw no indication that he was dissatisfied.
“I walked with him in the hallway twice that day. We discussed him being sick, he wanted some Claritin and one of the ushers here went and got him that. He was sweating profusely and his eyes were red. I asked him about that and he said he didn’t sleep the night before. So I said why you don’t go into the lounge and take a rest. He said nah he gah go in dey he got important things to do,” Basdeo added.
In addition to Basdeo and possibly Wade the record of the sitting shows Parliamentarians Jermaine Figueira and Hemraj Rajkumar who sat next to Persaud hitting him on his arms as well as imploring him in colourful language to change his vote. Figueira has since apologized for his use of unwelcomed Parliamentary language. He has also denied Persaud’s accusation that he assaulted him in a manner which caused bodily harm, highlighting that in the video of the sitting that he hit Persaud once on his arm nowhere close to his ribs which he claimed were bruised.
As this drama unfolded on the floor, several men repeatedly entered and exited the public gallery pausing in the vicinity of Persaud’s seat in a manner described by some as menacing. At least one of these men is later seen walking behind Persaud as he enters a waiting vehicle flanked by PPP/C businessman Peter Ramsaroop.
Both Persaud and Ramsaroop have admitted to having planned his exit following the vote.
Persaud explained that he had told Ramsaroop of his plans to vote in favour of the No-Confidence Motion and asked for his assistance in getting security so he could leave after the vote because he did not trust the security services offered by the Public Security Minister. He added that after he left parliament he made a call to the Canadian High Commission, told them that he feared his life and was in danger and asked for help.
“I do not remember the name of the officer I spoke with. It was a woman. She asked me if I was a Canadian citizen and if I feared my life was in danger. I told her yes to both but she asked about three questions. She told me to come to the embassy and that is when we went there. When I got there a … man came with me to the airport and waited until I boarded the flight,” he said.