With his return to Guyana expected to be “very soon,” former government parliamentarian Charrandass Persaud says his first move will be filing lawsuits against Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan and Police Commissioner Leslie James, whom he believes have slandered him.
Persaud told Sunday Stabroek during a telephone interview on Thursday that he will also pursue his plans to establish his own political party, which he is confident will get enough support for at least four seats at the next general elections.
“I am taking Leslie James and Khemraj Ramjattan to court. They are making all kind of slanderous statements against me, so they will be served with a slander suit. Let us see where they are going to go, first thing and very soon,” Persaud said.
“Ramjattan also has no right to publish my immigration documents. How can he, as Minister of Security, do that? He will know when I take him to court because he is using his authority to satisfy his personal benefit,” he added.
Persaud, whose support for an opposition no-confidence motion against government led to its passage on December 21st, said that he believes that the ongoing police investigation into his enquiries about purchasing US$1 million in gold has no relevance to his vote. “…He [Ramjattan] admitted that he told James about starting the investigation. This is not about my vote. They are upset because I voted the way I did, although it was democratic and now [he is] using his office to come after me. I have a right to vote to yes or no anytime I wanted,” he said.
Ramjattan has admitted that he tipped off the police about Persaud’s enquiry about purchasing gold but has said he received the information from Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock on the matter.
“I got a call from the Minister Sydney Allicock indicating that there was someone wanting to give some information about Charrandass and his conduct and indeed I put them to the Commissioner of Police after speaking to Sydney Allicock,” he told a press conference. “So, as a Minister of Security, someone come and gives information you feel can go somewhere, you pass it on. It was absolutely no interference [from me],” he added.
The information, Ramjattan said, came from Errol Ross, an employee within Allicock’s ministry and a friend of Persaud. Persaud admitted to the conversations with Ross about gold purchases but said that they began since last September and not in December as claimed. He said that indeed he made the enquiries on behalf of clients. “The whole conversation had started since September. Clients wanted to know, so I asked. I went to two legitimate gold dealers, one located next door to the American Embassy and the other in Robb Street. I wanted to know if you had to buy it in Guyana or you could ship it to an overseas address,” he said.
The former parliamentarian maintains that he was not offered or promised any monetary incentive or any other benefits by the opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic in exchange for his vote.
He is upset that the police raided the operations of the Robb Street gold dealer. “How can they go and search up the man place? They take away his computer and all sort of things. I can’t ask about gold? So no one can ask about gold?” he questioned.
Asked if in light of the investigations he was worried that government might seek to have him extradited for questioning, Persaud said that he was not afraid and that government would not have to seek to have him extradited from any country as he planned on returning home. “Extradition to me is a joke. They have no grounds to extradite me. And besides, I plan on coming home as soon as I am finished with this situation,” he said.
“I have heard from my police friends that instructions are given to arrest me at any port I arrive at. Arrest me for what? To investigate? Investigate what? They will arrest me to investigate and then have their own plans. But little do they know, I have my own plan. My plan is to have everyone notified of my coming and have it publicised fully. I have other plans but I will not say for now,” he added
He added that after he would have completed some personal matters overseas, he would be returning to his home country since it is never his intention to be away from Guyana for long periods.
As it relates to his plan to establish a new political party, Persaud said the rationale would be to ensure that the PNCR and the PPP/C never have a majority in Parliament. “They may have the plurality but none of them should ever again have the majority. I am saying the PNC because that whole APNU thing is just a farce. No other party makes sense there. It is just the PNC. I do not even count the AFC because they are a dead party. When I say dead, I mean dead to the bone. They cannot even pick up one seat, ever again, so they don’t count,” he said.
“Yes, so that is going to be my next move. I know I won’t get enough votes to be a president but I will be a sitting member of a small opposition group that will keep them in check. I know I will be able to pick up four or five seats comfortably because people know me and they know what I stand for,” he added.
Persaud said that he wants government to know that he is not afraid to return and while persons have threatened him, he cannot put his life on hold because of fear.
Persaud had previously told this newspaper that he wanted to return home and continue his law practice. “Guyana is my home. I am self-exiled so how long would I want to stay away from my work? I cannot live in fear forever. I will return soon,” he had said
“I have told my family that I will return already. This [Canada] is not my home, Guyana is my home. I am taking up space here. I have a grandson that was born in November but haven’t seen him as yet because I have a cold. Once I have given my final farewells to everyone, I will return,” he added.
When he was asked for a specific timeframe, Persaud said he would gauge the political atmosphere and decide on a date of his return.