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Harmon still enjoys Granger’s confidence- says top PNCR official

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon still enjoys the confidence of President David Granger despite swirling media reports that that minister appears very close with at least two companies that the coalition had heaped sharp criticism on while in opposition.

Minister of Social Cohesion Amna Ally told the Post Local Government Election meeting at West Demerara that President David Granger has every confidence in the Minister of State. She has reassured that “had the Minister of State done wrong, he would have been gone,” according to Harmon’s spokeswoman, Malika Ramsey.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon being greeted by supporters who held pro-Harmon placards.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon being greeted by supporters who held pro-Harmon placards. (photo by Malika Ramsey).

Ally is widely regarded as a very influential and highly knowledgeable long-serving executive member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)- the largest party in the governing coalition to which Granger and Harmon also belong.

Ally came out swinging in favour of her colleague minister at an APNU+AFC-organised meeting with Region Three Councillors who were elected at last month’s Local Government Elections.” “Joseph Harmon is not corrupt,” she was quoted as saying.

Greeting Harmon on his arrival were several supporters, including councillors, with placards that defended his integrity.

Ally’s positions were made known the same day that the privately-owned Kaieteur News newspaper published a picture of Harmon, Chairman of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, Larry London and top officials of Baishan Lin in an aircraft during a recent visit to China. Recently reports surfaced that Harmon had allegedly intervened in preventing the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) from seizing two of Baishan Lin’s vehicles for alleged non-payment of duties. Granger has since publicly stated that steps have been taken to ensure that there are “no intrusions”  in other ministers’ portfolios.

The Minister of Social Cohesion told the Post Local Government Election meeting at West Demerara that Harmon must be credited for the many projects that he has undertaken to better the lives of citizens in Region 3 and countrywide. She said Harmon’s key priority is Guyana’s development.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon (seated left), Chairman of the Guyana Civil Aviation Larry London (standing second from left) and top officials of Baishan Lin in an aircraft in China. Seated (at extreme right) is a Guyana government official.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon (seated left), Chairman of the Guyana Civil Aviation Larry London (standing second from left) and top officials of Baishan Lin in an aircraft in China. Seated (at extreme right) is a Guyana government official. (Kaieteur News photo)

Harmon, for his part, said he was not concerned that recent reports in the media would affect the way he performs his ministerial duties. He reportedly said that it is the people who elected him and the Coalition government who would decide whether the government was performing”…not one or two newspaper columnist or one or two persons who write newspaper articles.”

The Minister of State appeared to send a clear signal that he would not be responding to questions from the media on his apparent cozy relationship with Brian “BK” Tiwari, owner of BK International, and the Chinese company, Baishan Lin. In apparent reference to President Granger’s revocation of Tiwari’s appointment as a Ministerial Advisor on Business Development,  Harmon reportedly said the President has spoken on the matter definitively, and he respects the president’s judgement therefore he (the Minister of State)need not say more.

Harmon has so far not kept two promises to brief the media.

Tiwari’s appointment was made on January 29, 2016  but only came to light last month.

Prior to APNU+AFC’s victory at the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections,  then Opposition Leader Granger and several other top coalition representatives had been flown across Guyana aboard BK International’s aircraft. Shortly after assuming office, BK International assisted in a massive clean-up of Georgetown, the rehabilitation of the Independence Arch on Brickdam and the development of D’urban Park aback the 1763 “Cuffy” Slave Rebellion Monument.

Prior to the general elections, APNU+AFC had criticised that Chinese company  for environmental degradation, receiving preferential treatment by the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration and the export of logs. BK International has been cited for repeatedly receiving contracts, despite concerns about the quality of some works. Unflattering observations have been  also made about that company in a forensic audit report.

  • JC

    He paying them supporters with the Chinese money he holding.

  • Col123

    Peter: can you please explain your comments a little further. What trap are you thinking about?…You are suggesting that Mr Harmon is a tool!…tool to do what? Pres. Granger just recently expressed his vote of confidence on Mr Harmon…

    • Emile_Mervin

      Granger’s confidence may matter to Harmon, but what matters more is public confidence in Granger and the coalition. It really does not help that the AFC publicly stated it wants to see Harmon’s duties diluted. IMHO, the coalition appears to be taking the public for granted!

      • Col123

        Ms Ally is correct…and here is the point… The Pres. political capital (public confidence) is in no way altered… may be shaken a bit …bottom line is voting along ethnic lines…this is the political creed in Guyana…btw…the AFC is useless…more so since the LGE…Mr Naggamoottoo and Mr Ramjattan are seen as opportunists…even by PNC supporters…

  • Emile_Mervin

    Exactly one month from the 1st anniversary and the coalition is having to answer confidence questions! It was a no-confidence vote attempt that brought down the PPP, so either the coalition pays attention to public confidence or else internal confidence means diddly squat!

    • Col123

      Why is the Pres. not preaching about the economy?..the struggles of daily life matters…and if addressed…and have something to show that he is serious…it would take the focus of the populace to another level…folks need to remain optimistic…day to day!…

      • Emile_Mervin

        You might have a point, but can you enumerate five points of Granger’s economic plan? And I’m not talking routine economic projects initiated by the PPP. Go ahead…

        • Col123

          huh…ahm..uh..shucks…this is tough… I will have to sip on a glass of wine and give it some thought!…yea … I do not like voodoo economics….you are some help!..

  • george wiltshire

    I could not believe this is happening. But we are praying that righteousness prevails. This man does not have shame. This is akin to the pppc behaviour. Granger cannot tell us that he does not know what go do. JESUS said do not let your good be evil spoken of . Shun the very appearance of evil.

    • Col123

      Jesus said a lot of good things… but conniving folks would quote him just to look righteous … even though they are the poster boy/girl for evil!