Granger refuses to name campaign financiers; assures “it’s not dirty money”

Last Updated on Saturday, 9 April 2016, 0:53 by Denis Chabrol

President David Granger

President David Granger

President David Granger has refused to name financiers of the coalition’s 2015 general election campaign and the amounts they gave, saying that he does not want certain businesses to be victims of politically-inspired boycotts.

He assured that the funds received were not proceeds of crime. “We have received money or the coalition, as several parties, did receive monies during the campaign and the donors asked that their identities not be disclosed.

“It’s not dirty money. I know very well that people can be very vindictive once they know that contributions have been made to a political party, they have been blacklisted,” he said on the weekly television programme, Public Interest. He reiterated that some donors such as corporations have asked that their identities be kept secret for fear that they could be boycotted or blacklisted. “We don’t want that kind of witch-hunting in the country and we have complied with the request of donors not to disclose their identities,” he said.

The President assured that when Campaign Financing legislation is approved before Guyana’s next general and regional elections, disclosures would be made in keeping with the law. “We will comply with that law,” he said.

Granger’s refusal to disclose financiers of the coalition’s campaign comes against the background of reports that big companies have doled out of millions of dollars to A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance For Change (AFC) to contest the May 11, 2015 general elections.

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo has, meanwhile, rubbished reports that his People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) had received campaign financing from the Chinese company, Baishan Lin, for last year’s polls.  He said both the PPP’s General Secretary and Finance Secretary have said that that company has not donated any money to the party. “I spoke with both persons; no, no, none,” he said.

Reacting sharply to assertions by Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc. (TIGI) that the government was corrupt because Minister of State Joseph Harmon had halted the seizure of two vehicles from Baishan Lin for alleged tax evasion, the President urged that non-governmental organisation to contact Harmon instead of making wild statements in the media. “If they need information, let them approach Mr. Harmon. When they make statements about the government is corrupt, what does that mean? Does it mean I’m corrupt? … So I would ask TIGI to verify its information before going to the media,”  the President said.

Granger said the issue has since been addressed after concerns by the Finance Minister, Winston Jordan. The President said there would be no intrusion in the work of other ministers.

Concerns have been also raised in several quarters about the now rescinded appointment of Brian “BK” Tiwari as a ministerial advisor on business development.