The Alliance For Change (AFC) is now scrambling to reverse the resignation of Attorney Charrandas Persaud, who decided to leave the party over “recognition issues”, which have been added to a long list of other concerns that are yet to be addressed.
Persaud’s resignation now brings the total high-profile resignations this month to five after several other persons decided to cross the floor to join the main opposition party, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), because of unresolved conflicts and differences on policy issues and decisions taken by the AFC’s current leadership.
The attorney told Guyana Times on Thursday afternoon that he would not be aligning himself to any political party over the next few weeks and months.
AFC leader Khemraj Ramjattan
He explained that as of Thursday no one from the party’s leadership team contacted him to discuss his resignation or made any attempts to resolve the conflict.
Persaud said he made his decision based upon his conscience and the fact that he believed that the leadership of the party was “taking him for granted” and appeared unappreciative of the hard work he was doing in Regions Five and Six.
He said the AFC failed to recognise the amount of work its representatives have been doing in Berbice and will learn about the value of the people’s support and efforts in due time.
“The AFC will realise that the cow only recognises the use of its tail during mosquito season. So they will find out how the work that Charrandas did could have been to their benefit. They have to learn,” he stressed.
He explained that the disrespect and lack of appreciation climbed to new levels when he turned up for a planned television show only to be told that the party had sent a pre-recorded programme to be played instead.
Additionally, the party has not made any moves on several of his recommendations, including lobbying government to add more items to the list of products that will not attract Value Added Tax (VAT). He also noted that the party cancelled a public meeting at which he was the main speaker, in Rosignol, without proper reason and failed to reschedule.
Persaud, who is also an AFC councillor, said the party has also failed to inform him why it made a somersault on its initial position on the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project. “Am I not entitled to know so that I can inform our people in Berbice and defend the party?” he asked.
“I refuse to bend over backwards for a dictator …,” he declared during the interview, explaining that he plans on leaving the country in early October to commence a well-deserved vacation.
Persaud’s concerns also extend to other matters related to the leadership style of some of the executives and the party’s failure in some instances to “walk the ground” and respect the views of its supporters on other national issues.
AFC executive member Dominic Gaskin, speaking at the party’s press conference on Thursday, confirmed Persaud’s resignation. He appeared to be suggesting that the party at that late hour would have made overtures to Persaud with the aim of “reversing” his decision to resign.
He did not deny the claims made by Persaud, saying that “perhaps the party has not communicated its appreciation for his work as “sufficiently” as it should. Gaskin said that the party was “disappointed” by his decision to resign and was only “willing” to speak with him to address his concerns.
At the press conference, AFC leader Khemraj Ramjattan acknowledged that the recent defections to the APNU and Persaud’s resignation would “affect” the party.
He, however, became defensive, explaining that if people did not want to adhere to founding principles of the AFC and what it stood for, they were free to go. According to him, the party must remain independent, not pandering unnecessarily to either the APNU or the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP) or it will lose its identity.
“If people inside of the party do not want to hold to the course that this ship is on in this political ocean, we will have to say thank you for services, but you are now free to lead different political lives,” he told media.
The recent resignations and defections are just a small part of the problems plaguing the AFC, which is now being threatened by the non-support of larger numbers of its financiers and supporters across the country, according to a top AFC source.