Guyana Seeks Answers from Canada about its Role in Facilitating Departure of MP Who Voted ‘Yes’ in No Confidence Motion

Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge wrote to the Canadian High Commission requesting answers.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday January 14, 2019 – The Guyana government has asked Canada to explain why one of its diplomats was involved in escorting Charrandass Persaud – the government backbencher who supported an Opposition-laid no confidence motion against the administration last month – out of the country the morning after his vote.

The David Granger-led government has reportedly accused Canada of being complicit in efforts to bring it down. It confirmed over the weekend that it has formally approached the Canadian High Commission in Georgetown seeking explanation regarding “certain breaches of protocol”.

The query stems from reports that there was a breach in protocol at the Eugene F. Correia International Airport on the morning of December 22, 2018.

A report submitted by the airport duty officer at the time of the incident indicated that advisor to the Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, Peter Ramsaroop, in the company of Canadian diplomat Richard Beliveau, requested a protocol pass to access the tarmac of the airport, to escort Persaud to his departing flight for Canada.

Canadian diplomat Richard Beliveau

Persaud, who is also a Canadian citizen, boarded a LIAT flight for Barbados with connections to Canada.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that in keeping with normal diplomatic procedures, a note was sent to the High Commission last Monday and meetings were held last Wednesday and Friday.

A release from the ministry states that it is duty bound to seek clarification on reports of breaches of diplomatic protocol by a foreign mission, and it continues to work with the Canadian High Commission to ensure that the matter reaches a satisfactory conclusion.

While the statement did not offer details about the letter sent to the High Commission, local media reports state that the correspondence from the Foreign Affairs Ministry was strongly worded and went as far as stating that “the evidence suggests that the High Commission and, by extension, the sending State, are complicit in an attempt to overthrow a sitting government which was democratically elected”.

Peter Ramsaroop (left), advisor to the Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, escorts then government MP Charrandass Persaud to his flight, hours after he voted ‘yes’ in an Opposition-moved no confidence motion against the government. (Credit: News Source Guyana)

“It is the view of the Guyana government that this unilateral act is a violation of the Geneva Convention and on diplomatic and consular relations,” it stated.

Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee, has refused to comment on her mission’s involvement in facilitating Persaud’s departure.

Persaud’s vote in the December 21, 2018 motion allowed it to pass by a slim 33-32 majority in the 65-member Parliament. The vote is being challenged in the court.

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