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Harmon hides behind GINA on BK Tiwari issue

Despite widespread criticism about the now revoked appointment of prominent Guyanese businessman, Brian “BK” Tiwari as a ministerial business adviser, Minister of State Joseph Harmon broke his promise to hold a news conference on Friday to deal with the issue.

Instead, Harmon spoke with the state-owned Government Information Agency (GINA) which issued a release and made no reference of the Chairman of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Larry London and Tiwari being on the visit to China  with Harmon at the same time.

Harmon Thursday morning promised  faithfully that he would have fully briefed the media on the issue on Friday (April 1, 2016).

The GINA-issued statement, however, sought to reiterate what President David Granger has already stated- that Harmon and in-house Legal Counsel at the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), Natalie Seepersaud were on the official trip to China.

Granger has already said that he personally rescinded Tiwari’s appointment and that Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin never requested assistance.  Under Harmon’s hand and seal, Tiwari was appointed ministerial adviser on business on January 29, 2016.

Tiwari was a major financier of the APNU+AFC general election campaign and after the coalition victory he assisted in a major clean-up exercise, rehabilitation of the Independence Arch on Brickdam and the development of D’Urban Park.

However, Tiwari and his company BK International have long been accused by the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) of shoddy infrastructural work and benefiting heavily from contracts under the previous People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration.

GINA reported that at the same time Harmon and Seepersaud were in China, there was another delegation from the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) negotiating the acquisition of  shipping container scanners from NUTECH.

Separately, but during the same period, a team from the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) comprised of Head Project Coordination, Mr. Fitzroy Corlette and Supervisor, Mr. David Hermonstine, along with the representative of the Chinese companies in Guyana, Mr. Clinton Williams, visited China to participate in negotiations with NUTECH, a Chinese security scanning equipment supplier, for the acquisition of container and baggage scanners.

NUTECH is recognised as one of the world’s top providers of security scanning equipment. The company produces scanners that are used to effectively prevent the trafficking of contraband such as explosives, narcotics and radioactive substances.

The acquisition of security scanners by the GRA is aimed at strengthening air, land and sea port security and to help in the fight against the trafficking of illegal drugs. The GRA team and NUTECH both expressed satisfaction on the outcome of the negotiations and the Guyana Revenue Authority is expected to issue a separate statement on this matter shortly.

The Information Agency reported that the visit by Harmon and Seepersaud  was to engage in discussions with regard to the payment of the US$5 million balance owed for the purchase of 20 percent of Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) shares by Chinese company, Datang Telecom Technology and Industry Group from NICIL in 2012.  This deal was entered into by the previous administration but only US$25 million of the agreed US$30 million was paid.

Minister Harmon reported on his return that the investigations and enquiries that were conducted by the Guyanese delegation were highly successful.  The team’s report will be submitted to the Board of Directors of NICIL for deliberations, after which, a full statement on this matter will be issued.

 

 

  • Lancelot Brassington

    Harmon, Tiwarie and Larry London being on the same trip to China makes me uneasy. Were they there to examine new brands of snake oil. Why wasn’t Dominic Gaskin sent to deal with the outstanding payment for GTT since he is the business minister?
    Harmon needs to take a rest. The very professional Vincent Alexander must be pretty bored these days since his retirement from UG. BK needs to be kept at arms length and Granger needs to watch the third snake oil salesman (his former military colleague) with six eyes before he suffers further embarrassment. This guy has a reputation for wildness and adventurism which I am sure Granger can well remember.
    The immediate revocation of BK’s appointment as adviser was an act of leadership and good judgment on Granger’s part. We await the next major move.

    • SYL

      Guys relax its all business as usual, nothing has significantly changed, just the guards.Every where in the world including the USA have the same issues. Its known as “special interest ” in Washington DC “lobbyist “.. In Gt what is it called ” bribe” or back door deals” or two hands to clap or I scratch your back and you scratch mine”. Its another set of FAT CATS on stage “AS THE WORLD TURNS” another soap opera. So if you intend to live long and healthy LYAO, AND LOL.The only solution to the political Hollywood / Bollywood drama Just concentrate on your self , family and inner circle friends, make sure you and they have at least basic food , clothes, education, and LEAVE THE COWBOYS TO ROAM THE DESERT, LEAVE THE POLITRICIANS TO DO THE MERINNGUE . Finally keep your sanity. Punto finale!

  • Emile_Mervin

    In the interest of public accountability, responsibility and transparency in the delivery of government service, this matter deserves a full parliamentary discussion. After all, public funds are involved, besides the irrational appointment of BK as a government advisor.

  • Gtloyal

    I said it before … many times, with different words maybe, and I’ll say it again: Harmon is undermining the efforts of the Granger led coalition government, knowingly or unknowingly and if he is not stopped he will eventually be solely responsible for its downfall. His latest contributions stinks of corruption, a word which seems to be tabu to commentators of these cases.
    Is Mr Granger deliberately allowing this negative impression left by his subordinate to spread, running the risk of it tarnishing his government’s image? For what purpose? Or, is he part of what I looks like, God forbid?

    • Emile_Mervin

      Granger appears to be asleep at the wheel of the ship while the real second in command is playing pirate with the booty. It had to take this controversial for him to briefly wake up and grabbed the wheel.

  • Emile_Mervin

    Harmon should be investigated and relieved of his Minister of State duties. In other democratic governments, his actions world warrant legislative probe for impropriety.

    The fact that Granger revoked the appointment meant Harmon acted alone, and the fact Harmon acted alone raises suspicion the trip involved secrecy in its dealings.

    Granger has a Jagdeo-type in his camp!

  • Emile_Mervin

    Chuck,

    I am not rooting for any cowboy; I am rooting for a principle. No matter how flawed we all are, we still need to embrace and encourage the application of principle, for without it, chaos will ensue.

    From what I’m reading on Harmon’s trip to China and halting the GRA/SOCU seizure of Baushanlin’s vehicles, Harmon appears to have been in the Chinese camp long before the coalition came to power.

    His actions definitely deserve a parliamentary probe, because to appoint BK as a regime advisor, take him on a trip to China, only to have Granger revoke the appointment, then to order a cessation property seizure against a Chinese company, raises serious questions about Harmon’s motivation in what is turning out to be a potentially corrupt actions linked to questionable Chinese players and their Guyanese accomplices.

    BK bought land from the PPP government, sold it to the Chinese, who still owed BK, so was the trip to China intended for BK to be paid off? Did money change hands among the other various players?

    Then there is the report of some other team that also traveled to China, a country that encourages government corruption abroad in order to grab countries’ resources. Granger has to stop Harmon now or run the risk of losing the next elections, because not only does the PPP look good with no criminal charges on corruption as per audits, but corruption has crept into the coalition.

    If Harmon is indeed stalking charges as per audits, is he protecting the PPP for a reason?