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Transparency Institute lashes out at Gov’t over Harmon scandals

 

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.

Transparency Institute Guyana Inc, is calling on the President David Granger administration to immediately issue the names of all the persons that have been given instruments of office, after the May 11, 2015 General and Regional Elections.

The call comes after revelations that shady businessman Brian ‘BK’ Tiwarie was appointed as Ministerial Advisor on Business. His appointed was rescinded by President Granger shortly after a news report surface.

It also comes on the heels of a report that State Minister Joseph Harmon had interfered in the work of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) which falls under the remit of the Finance Ministry.

According to TIGI, the recent revelations in the local media regarding the appointment of advisors to the APNU +AFC Government and political interference in the work of GRA by Harmon have set a dark cloud over the operations of the current government.

In the release, the Institute pointed to a statement made by Harmon defending BK’s appointment in which he said, “we have issued several instruments like these to persons both from the APNU and the AFC side and you would notice that I have signed it for many persons who have helped us in the campaign and those who have the capacity to help us further.”

“Support during the campaign for office is necessarily support for a political party. The Minister of State is confirming that the government has been using its position to employ and reward, out of state resources, its supporters and donors. By the Minister’s own admission, well-paying and prestigious jobs and other privileges were up for sale during the 2015 elections campaign in which the party stood on an anti-corruption and transparency platform,” the release note.

It was noted that by any  standard, the conduct of Harmon and by extension, the Government, constitutes corruption.

“TIGI expresses its complete and total rejection of this state of affairs and calls on the government to begin the process of correction by the immediate release of information on all the instruments of appointments issued by the Government and the criteria employed in such appointments. Recognising that the absence of transparency usually spawns authoritarianism and corruption, TIGI also calls on the APNU+AFC Coalition to disclose the identity of the donors pre- and post-elections 2015 and the amount and or value of their contributions.”

TIGI said it had expected that a coalition that campaigned on a platform of anti-corruption would have immediately and vigorously confronted corruption as a primary goal. Regretfully, the action by Harmon and the inaction and silence of the Coalition on corruption suggest that any expectation of early improvement in the perception of corruption in Guyana is at best premature and at worst dangerously misconceived.

“TIGI will not sit idly as the curse of corruption continues to haunt Guyana in an anniversary year that should mark a commitment to a corruption-free future and not an embrace of past lawlessness at the highest levels of our country,” the statement declared.