Advisor to the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Peter Ramsaroop, was Tuesday detained for more than eight hours by the Guyana Police Force’s (GPF) Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in relation to an investigation into former parliamentarian Charrandas Persaud.
Based on the type of questions he was being asked by investigators, Ramsaroop concluded that the activity was all “political”.
Ramsaroop told Guyana Times that it was clear that investigators were attempting to ‘bully’ and ‘intimidate’ him, insisting that he can only be released after he gives a statement.
The political advisor said he visited Police Headquarters at about 08:30h in the presence of his Attorneys Mark Conway, Sanjeev Datadin and Sase Gunraj.
Ramsaroop said he was asked about 10 “odd” questions, all of which he refused to answer.
“They started out with questions such as which political party I am affiliated with, what is my role in the political parties of Guyana. And then they went on to other questions in relation to the Canadians and then questions about me, personally,” he outlined.
“From the beginning of the first question, which was ‘which political party I am affiliated with’, I realised that this is political harassment…to get me in there to intimidate me,” Dr Ramsaroop noted.
After he refused to answer questions, the political adviser said he was left there for hours without being offered something to eat or drink.
Ramsaroop said he was subsequently advised by investigators that he is free to go; however, shortly after they received a phone call and instructions from higher authorities, informing him to remain at Police Headquarters.
After more than eight hours, Ramsaroop was allowed to leave.
Following the historic evening on December 21, 2018, when Persaud – then a member of the Alliance For Change (AFC) – made a conscious decision and voted in favour of the No-confidence Motion against the Government, the Member of Parliament (MP) left the country on a flight bound for Canada, where he is a citizen.
Since then, there have been allegations floating around that Charrandas was seen leaving the National Assembly escorted by PPP affiliate Peter Ramsaroop, who is also a businessman.
However, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has since dismissed these claims as mischievous, saying that the businessman was free to befriend whomever he wants to, even if it’s persons from the opposite side of the House.
Meanwhile, Ramsaroop has also denied any wrongdoing, telling reporters that Persaud had requested his help – something which he would have done for any of his friends.
Ramsaroop’s help to Persaud has caused the Ogle Airport Inc to suspend protocol passes over an alleged security breach. This order came from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), although the Airport insisted it did not breach any protocols.
According to reports, a Canadian diplomat, along with Ramsaroop, had obtained protocol passes to see Persaud off at the Eugene F Correia International Airport, hours after the December 21, 2018 sitting of the National Assembly.
This is said to be one of the aspects under investigation.
Police are said to also be probing allegations that the former parliamentarian was bribed into voting in favour of a No-confidence Motion which brought down the A Partnership for National Unity/AFC coalition Government.
Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan – who is also the Chairman of the AFC – has since admitted that he initiated the Police probe into the expelled member.
“The personal involvement; yes, I got a call from Vice President Sydney Allicock indicating that there is someone that wants to give some information about Charrandas and his conduct, and indeed I then put the Commissioner of Police after speaking to Sydney Allicock. As a Minister of security, if some information does come and it’s information you feel can go somewhere … he indicated to me certain things and I said Mr Commissioner, you better make a check on what’s happening and that’s it,” he had told media operatives at a press conference in January 2019.
Ramjattan believes that Persaud did not vote his conscience. Police Commissioner Leslie James has remained tightlipped on the progress and nature of the investigation, only informing the media that the situation is “a matter of national security.”