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(CMC) – Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo has appealed for calm after the coalition government of President David Granger failed to defeat a motion of no confidence brought against it by the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo on Friday.
Government back-bencher, Charrandass Persaud, voted with the opposition in ensuring the success of the motion in the 65-member National Assembly late on Friday night.
Persaud later said his conscience had been “stifled for long” as he defended his decision to vote with the opposition and toppling the three-and-a-half year-old coalition government.
“I feel that almost 80 percent of the Guyanese populace would want to have this government removed just for what has not been done during the three and a half years that APNU/AFC (A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change) has been in office,” he said.
Prime Minister Nagamootoo said, while government would be examining its options, it is clear that general elections would be held in 90 days except if the 65-seat National Assembly decides otherwise by a two-thirds majority.
Nagamootoo, who until recently was acting president in the absence of a sick Granger who was in Cuba seeking medical treatment for cancer, urged the population to remain calm.
“We want our people to maintain the peace, the good order, the stability of our country. We want nothing to happen in our society that will affect the stability and peace and we want nothing to happen that will affect the business community in this particular period that you have bright business,” he said.
“There may be outcomes which are not predictable or outcomes which have not been anticipated, but the outcome has to be accepted and we want our supporters in particular — those who support the coalition government — to understand that we are going back to the polls; this is not the end,” Prime Minister Nagamootoo told a news conference.
He has since called on Persaud to say “whether he had been compromised because he had given no indication that he had reneged on his commitment to the coalition or that he had some displeasure or that he had become disloyal to the party to which he had belonged and the government to which he had belonged”.
Following the vote in the National Assembly, Persaud left the building through a back stairway and into a waiting car.
Prime Minister Nagamootoo said he was unaware that Persaud had been displeased with the AFC or anyone else and that Persaud had campaigned with him in Berbice for the November 12 local government elections.
Nagamootoo said prior to the vote, a circular was sent telling legislators that “this was not one of the occasions on which one exercises a conscience vote”.
AFC Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan said Persaud, an attorney, was disloyal and would be expelled from the party.
But Persaud has already indicated he has no intention of remaining in the party and as a legislator, amid reports that he has since left the country.
“I am not keen on being a parliamentarian and those who know me will know that I’m a successful lawyer. I don’t sell my soul. I sold my conscience for three and half years in this parliament to the detriment of my job. That has now come to an end,” he said.