The Alliance For Change (AFC), whether it chooses to contest the next elections alone or with its APNU partner, has said it will place more emphasis on ensuring that its candidates are more loyal to the party.
It was the former AFC’s Parliamentarian Charrandass Persaud who voted against his own government and swung things in favour of the Opposition during the vote of No Confidence on December 21 last.
“There will be a more rigorous scrutinizing process that each candidate will go through a and having had the experience we’ve had with Charrandass [Persaud]. We have learnt from that and things that were overlooked in the past will certainly not be overlooked at this time,” Lenno Craig, AFC’s Deputy General Secretary, said at a press conference on Friday.
Following his vote, Persaud was expelled from the AFC and fled the country to Canada where he also has citizenship.
The No-Confidence motion was tabled in the house by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and the police later launched an investigation to find out whether Persaud was bribed for his vote on the motion. That investigation, Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan said on June 12, 2019, was stalled as detectives are unable to get a statement from Persaud and there is not enough evidence to file for extradition.
Close to one year since the fateful vote, the Police Commissioner Leslie James has said that an international firm was being hired by the Government to take over the probe.
At the AFC Press Conference on Friday, along with Craig, there was only AFC Executive Dominic Gaskin. Gaskin a former Minister of Business now serves as Director of Manufacturing and Marketing in the Ministry of Business.
Gaskin said he is no longer privy to details of Cabinet meetings and therefore cannot say whether a firm was indeed hired.
He said the matter has not been discussed at the level of the party.
Asked if such an investigation is worth if almost a year after the vote, Gaskin said: “in my opinion, I think the police or whichever authorities are conducting this investigation should do their work as they are mandated to. They should decide whether something is worth investigating…not the Government, not the politicians, but the relevant authorities have to be empowered to do the necessary investigations when these matters come up.”
He added that the political party does not want to be involved in such issues.