by Ravin Singh
The Government of Guyana in a statement on Wednesday, said it is aware of on-going investigations by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) into the intended purchase of US$1M in gold by its legislative defector Charrandass Persaud.
Mr. Persaud has denied that he was bribed for his vote.
News Source reported on Monday that Police investigators believe that Persaud was allegedly making plans to purchase US$1M worth of gold in early December. The plans, according to senior security sources, were being made as the National Assembly was debating the 2019 budget and preparing for a no-confidence motion against his government.
In a statement on Wednesday, the government said that that it “noted the on-going investigation by the police into what appears to be a massive illegal US$1,000,000 deal involving the defector and well known gold dealers”.
Screen grabs of a text message conversation, between an individual linked to gold dealers and a number belonging to Charrandass, surfaced on Monday.
The number belonging to Persaud was inquiring about the purchase of what is believed to be gold, but referred to it as casareep. News Source reported on the alleged plans and released part of the conversation which was made available.
“I need some REAL casreep…not the diluted one…let me know”, the number belonging to Persaud wrote, while the friend enquired about the amount he would need.
On December 12th, the man, who the number belonging to Persaud was in contact with, messaged to say that “I have good news can we meet”.
“You tell me when…,” Persaud’s number responded, and they made plans to meet the following day.
On December 13, the man inquired about the break time for Parliament and sought to set up a meeting with a third person.
Officials in the intelligence community believe that third person was a gold miner who operates in the downtown, Georgetown area and who may have been the person to sell the US$1 million worth of gold.
As such, the Executive shared further in its statement, that: “reports strongly indicate that the defector was bribed, and had conspired with others to effect the unlawful overthrow of the duly elected APNU+AFC [A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change] Government”.
On December 21, 2018, Persaud, a then government MP, voted in favour of an opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion which was passed 33-32 in favour of the opposition. He was subsequently expelled from the AFC – a party in the governing coalition of which he was a member.
Meanwhile, the government said that it is in the process of putting plans in place to foil the opposition’s alleged plot to disrupt Thursday’s sitting of the National Assembly.
The opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) said earlier today that it will not be attending the scheduled sitting of the legislature on January 3, since it will be in violation of the Constitution.
PPP Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira argued that consideration of the bills listed on the Order Paper is not in compliance with Article 106(7) of the Constitution, given the recent passage of a no-confidence motion against the government.
However, the government has maintained that it “has credible evidence that the Opposition intends to disrupt tomorrow’s sitting of the National Assembly,” at which the Speaker is expected to address the consequences of the December 21 no-confidence vote.
The government has called for the Speaker to review the 33-32 vote, which it believes was insufficient to pass the motion. It’s position, based on legal advice, is that 34 votes constitutes an absolute majority which was needed for the motion to be carried.
As such, they have since submitted to the Speaker, a legal brief on the interpretation of the relevant constitutional provisions for passage of a confidence motion.
The Executive also sought to re-affirm it continued respect for the constitution, while noting that it will resist any legislative coup, procured by bribery or other unlawful means. It believes, therefore, that the Speaker ought to be allowed to pronounce on the constitutional threshold for a confidence vote, without pressure or threats of any kind.
The opposition has since disagreed, informing the Speaking via a letter that he does not have the authority to review same.
“Since the debate on the confidence motion the Government has spared no efforts at maintaining peace and good order, in spite of the reckless provocations by the opposition to stoke ethnic conflicts and political disorder” the government added.