…Granger says Tiwari does not determine his policy
BY EDWARD LAYNE
Local businessman Brian Tiwari has broken his silence and came out swinging at President David
Granger and sections of the print media, including his cousin, publisher of the tabloid Kaieteur News, Glenn Lall, over his appointment as Ministerial Adviser on Business Development to Minister of State Joseph Harmon, which was widely reported in the local press after Kaieteur News reported that the appointment of Tiwari was to advise the Minister of Business and not just Harmon.
Tiwari, Managing Director of construction conglomerate BK International, in a strongly worded statement said based on his business acumen, Harmon’s decision to appoint him was legitimate. Implicitly addressing charges that Tiwari was “opportunistic” the statement asserted Tiwari’s “relationship with Harmon predated APNU, general elections and his appointment as minister”.
Revoke similar appointments
He added he was providing his services pro bono and reminded that several ministers, including Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo have made similar appointments, however, those appointments did not attract any “sustained campaign and public outcry.”
“Maybe in the interest of fairness the President should revoke all of those too and for the very reason given when he acted impulsively in revoking the appointment at a time when Minister Harmon was out of the
country. It may well be that in quieter time the President may have an opportunity to reflect upon the propriety of impulsive decision making,” the businessman said.
Meanwhile, President David Granger told media operatives on Monday evening that he will not be responding to the businessman.
“I won’t respond to Mr Tiwari and Mr Tiwari does not determine my policy.”
Internal power struggle
Tiwari believes that the fact Harmon is “rightfully perceived as quiet, powerful and influential… is what has provoked the struggle for power, for influence, for turf.”
“The truth of the matter is that a political struggle is underway between various elements in high places and the Tiwari so called appointment is being used by many to achieve their objectives. We strongly believe that when politicians are at war, they must avoid dragging in innocent parties, unrelated to their apparent power struggles,” the statement added.
The businessman also took to task the state-owned Guyana Chronicle and the privately-owned Stabroek News and the tabloid-like Kaieteur News.
Tiwari believes that Kaieteur News focusing much attention on his appointment is part of a personal vendetta of its publisher Lall against Tiwari.
It said Kaieteur News and Guyana Chronicle have been waging their campaign of fabrications uninterruptedly, while Stabroek News fell into the trap with its editorial of April 4,, 2016 repeated the lies being peddled by Chronicle and Kaieteur News.
“As it relates to this issue and others, the Kaieteur News and the Guyana Chronicle have practiced gutter journalism and have taken the posture of the purveyors of fascist propaganda,” Tiwari said.
Tiwari clarified that his trip to China for private business, which happened to coincide with Minister Harmon’s official visit to the emerging economic super power.
“We acknowledge that they travelled together, but not withstanding this reality, each had his own business to transact. We find absolutely nothing wrong with that,” the statement said. The statement said that BK International and Tiwari are ‘good corporate citizens’, and supporters of the present government, who in the interest of Guyana’s development, have every right to do so.
“BK International will continue to support the Government as it has recently done in the matter of Durban Park development. All Guyanese, all businessmen and all companies have a right to contribute to public projects if they so wish. This is not a crime. This is not corruption. It is called patriotism,” it stated.
Meanwhile, the construction conglomerate asserted that it will continue to firmly support any efforts of the government to counter and/or stamp out corrupt practices which have in the past adversely affected its own operations and threatened its existence.
“If there is evidence of our involvement otherwise, we charge that it be provided openly and publically and honestly,” the statement said.
The appointment of Tiwari back in January 2016 which was made public last month has since attracted widespread criticisms from many quarters.
Harmon and the government were labelled “corrupt” by local transparency watchdog Transparency Institute Guyana Incorporated (TIGI), a label which was quickly refuted by President Granger.
Since taking to office, Minister Harmon has been one of the most proactive and competent ministers within the APNU/AFC administration and has been a target of many, including the Kaieteur News’ vendetta because of his association with businessman Brian Tiwari, the cousin Lall, publisher of that newspaper.
It is also believed that campaign against Minister Harmon was also orchestrated by members of the AFC, the smaller party in the APNU/AFC coalition.