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BK Tiwari says he was appointed to advise Harmon, not government

Brian Tiwari.

Brian Tiwari.

Prominent businessman, Brian “BK” Tiwari appears to have separated his now rescinded appointment from the rest of the government, saying that he was merely an advisor only to Minister of State, Joseph Harmon and not the coalition-led administration.

By the Head of BK International’s account, it calls into question what was Tiwari’s appointment that President David Granger said he revoked. Granger has said that his administration has no need for Tiwari’s services and the Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin has never asked for assistance.

Breaking his silence on a business development advisor position that has enraged government supporters, Tiwari has dismissed claims that he was appointed to provide business development advice to the government.

The local businessman, who is currently overseas, told Demerara Waves Monday, April 4, 2016 that information currently being peddled about his appointment in relation to the government has been misconstrued and misinformation is being fed to the public.

Tiwari said his appointment was only to provide business advice to Minister of State Joseph Harmon, and as far as he knows that is the information provided on the document signed between himself and Minister Harmon.

“I don’t know where they (media) are getting this from. It has nothing to do with the government,” Tiwari said about his advisorial appointment. While the businessman said he is unable to put his hands on the document signed between himself and the Minister, he said, “When I remember reading the document it said, ‘within the Ministry’, it had nothing to do with the government. Nothing on behalf of the government.” Tiwari insisted that he is of the view that the Minister could appoint advisors to aid him in the functioning of his duties.

President David Granger speaking with the media.

President David Granger speaking with the media.

BK International confirmed that the company’s leader was appointed on honorary grounds as stated by Minister Harmon who provided an explanation about Tiwari’s appointment when public perception became clear that they were not happy about the former PPP-linked businessman’s involvement.

However, in support of BK, one public commentator has given his approval of the Tiwari appointment stated that the relationship was a legitimate one between the two sides. “PM Nagamootoo made 27 honorary appointments in the Diaspora, but that doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a token to the comrade for the assistance that they would have provided to the party. They receive a piece of document from the PM, they frame it and put it on their wall, that doesn’t mean anything,” said the commentator who has worked for BK International in the past.

Harmon, in his explanation, has told media operatives that Tiwari’s appointment was one of “many” appointments of persons who helped during the party’s campaign and those who have the capacity to help further.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.

Unconfirmed reports are that BK would have provided some GYD$100 million to the A Partnership for National Unity +Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) coalition during their 2015 election campaign. While some are skeptical that BK’s funding was that astronomical, it was rumoured further that the sum had offset the $100 million that Chinese company Bai Shan Lin had given to the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) for their political campaign. Even former PPP executive member and prominent commenter Ralph Ramkarran in his weekend edition of the Conversation Tree indicated his disbelief that BK had provided that large amount to the government, claiming that even if he did he miscalculated his approach in transitioning to the new government.

“Brian Tiwari ignored already existing signs and believed that the same strategies he adopted in the past would work in changing times. He transitioned from the past administration to the current, hauling with him what is rumoured to be a gargantuan gift. Many did not believe its quantum when they heard of it. Mr. Tiwari is known as a man of unfailing generosity, solicited and unsolicited, but he was not thought to be that generous! But maybe it was true and Mr. Tiwari felt that it was enough to earn him the ‘honorific.’ But he miscalculated, “Ramkarran wrote.

Minister Harmon had promised a full media briefing on the issue which set the media buzzing. Sources have said that the minister has been advised against briefing the media on the controversial issue. BK International is however set to have a full release on the Harmon appointment, the company’s office told Demerara Waves.

Since APNU+AFC came to power, BK International had spearheaded a clean-up exercise, rehabilitated the Independence Arch on Brickdam and has been developing D’urban Park aback the 1763 Slave Rebellion ‘Cuffy’ Monument.

APNU+AFC coalition supporters have been very keen attention to the issue, especially since the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)- the largest party in APNU- had in the past raised grave concerns that BK International appeared to have continually benefited from multi-million dollar contracts although the integrity of several infrastructural projects have been called into serious question.

The controversy over Tiwari’s appointment has come at a time when a recent  government-sponsored forensic audit has pointed to major concerns about BK International’s land purchases and sales.

(by Zena Henry)