Charrandass as High Commissioner could ‘strain’ Guyana-India relations

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L-R: Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon and former Alliance For Change (AFC) Member, Charrandass Persaud

– Opposition Leader says in letter to India’s Minister of External Affairs

Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon has written to the Minister of External Affairs of India expressing his party’s strong non-support for the appointment of former Alliance For Change (AFC) Member, Charrandass Persaud as Guyana’s High Commissioner to India.

Last week, the media reported that Persaud was tipped to take up the post — a decision which could only come from the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government.

The Opposition holds Persaud responsible for the fall of the former Government after he voted in favour of the PPP/C’s No-Confidence Motion against the APNU+AFC in the National Assembly on December 21, 2018.

The moment remains one of the most dramatic in Guyana’s history as shouts erupted that night in the House as colleagues of the former AFC Member begged him to vote “no” to the Motion as opposed to the “yes” he uttered twice.

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In a letter to India’s Minister of External Affairs, H.E. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Thursday, Harmon stated:

“I wish to register, in the strongest possible terms, our objection to the proposed appointment of Mr. Charandass Persaud as Guyana’s High Commissioner to India. Mr. Persaud does not enjoy the confidence of a large segment of the Guyanese population and is mired in controversy.”

He informed the Minister that he was writing on behalf of the APNU+AFC Parliamentary Opposition. Telling of Persaud’s actions which cut his former political party to the core, Harmon stated that the former MP crossed the floor without the consultation or consent of the constituency he was elected to represent.

The Opposition Leader said that his party has reason to believe that Persaud was coerced into the decision and that the plan to appoint him as Guyana’s High Commissioner to India will be seen as his reward. Harmon implied that India should refuse Persaud’s appointment on these grounds.

“…We are of the view that the appointment of Mr. Persaud to such an important portfolio is likely to be viewed by the Guyanese people as a reward for and an endorsement of his treasonous act. The people of Guyana have always enjoyed cordial relations with the Government and people of India and we are concerned that Mr. Persaud’s appointment may place a significant strain on this important relationship,” Harmon stated.

In 2018, the No-Confidence Motion, laid in the name of then Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, had brandished on its cover: “BE IT RESOLVED that this National Assembly has no confidence in the Government”.

It remains the PPP/C’s position that the APNU+AFC Administration was damaging the country’s future and as such ought not lead.

“We ‘dropped the ball’ by not treating this seriously enough, and by failing to recognize that one of our own could vote in favour of the motion,” then Leader of the AFC, Raphael Trotman said then in reflection.

It was the turning point for the country and would lead to the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections, but not after a slew of Court battles climbing all the way up to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and seeking to deem the Motion as invalidly passed. These were unsuccessful.

Many within the PPP/C now view Persaud as a “national hero” for putting an end to the leadership of the APNU+AFC. However, the Coalition believes that Persaud’s act was one of betrayal which halted the plans of the former Administration for the country.



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