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US$40,000 monthly hiring of US lobbying firm formally switched from Guyana govt to APNU+AFC

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 May 2020, 8:29 by Denis Chabrol

The coalition of A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) has agreed to pay an American lobbying firm US$40,000 per month to reach out to the United States government, private sector and the media on the political situation in Guyana.

In a letter signed by APNU Chairman, Joseph Harmon and AFC General Secretary, David Patterson, they agreed to pay the firm named JJ&B, LLC US$40,000 per month. This agreement will last until March 30, 2021 but may be cancelled by either the firm or APNU+AFC by giving 30 days notice.

In a separate document, they cost of the amended  filing was retroactive to April  and limit it up to July at a rate of US24,000 per month

JJ&B, LLC is tasked with reaching out to the United States President’s Office and National Security Council as well as lawmakers  to assure them of democracy and rule of law for Guyanese. The lobbyists will also  target the US Department of Justice “regarding the legitimacy of the current government” including “legal advice regarding the activities” of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

The lobbying firm told Harmon and Patterson that the experiences confronting their coalition require experienced public policy experts with direct relationships with principles in the US government who are responsible for managing the US-Guyana relationship.

JJ&B, LLC will be dealing with legitimacy of the government, economic development efforts related to infrastructure and contacts with US companies.

Previously, the arrangement had been between the Guyana government and JJ&B, LLC, with Harmon as the point-man.

President David Granger later dissociated himself and government from that arrangement and denied that he was an American citizen as is stated in a dossier submitted with APNU+AFC logo.

The document still remains part of the filings, with him still described as an American citizen.

A registration amendment was filed on April 24, 2020 in keeping with the Foreign Agents Registration Act, after the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) had accused the Granger administration of using taxpayers’ money to further the interest of the coalition political parties at a time of the coronavirus crisis.

The PPP, for its part, has lobbied Mercury Public Affairs to lobbying the US legislature and international organisations.