Harmon defends hosting PNC event at State House
In defence of a decision taken by President David Granger, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, who is also an Executive Member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) says that the Party’s Bursary Awards was hosted at State House because it was convenient.
The event was hosted at the State House for the first time on Thursday, defying the thin line that separates state institutions from their political groupings.
When asked why this was done, Harmon said the decision was taken by President Granger who is also the leader of the PNC/R.
“That’s a decision which His Excellency makes. He is the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and depending on what is convenient to him, based on his schedule, the President will determine where he holds any activity,” Harmon told reporters on Friday at the sidelines of another event.
It was revealed during the event at State House also that the President donated some $3M to the PNC initiative but it is unclear whether it was his personal money or a government grant.
Allegations were also made by several PPP members including former Attorney General Anil Nandlall that the PNC used State resources to fund its 60th-anniversary celebrations which were hosted at the National Cultural Centre.
Harmon, however, dismissed those claims and called on Nandlall to provide the evidence.
“Let him produce the evidence…the PPP, they’re in this habit of throwing out these wild assertions without any evidential basis. Let Mr Nandlall come and produce the basis,” he stated.
However, Nandlall, in an invited comment said that it is the PNC’s obligation to prove that State funds were not used.
“Mr Harmon must produce evidence that the PNC paid for the Cultural Centre. Mr Harmon must produce evidence that the PNC paid for the drinks and the food. I don’t have to produce any evidence. They chose to use a government facility to host an event, they have an obligation to show that they did not use the government facility and public monies in an abusive way,” Nandlall told News Room.
Nandlall said the PNC has a history of not separating the State from the Party and he is concerned that such practices have returned.
“They have a doctrine of party paramountcy to which apparently they still subscribed so there is no real distinction between the party, the State and the government. They believe once they are in government, they own this country and that they can use public facilities and public servants as they seem fit and to do party functions. That clearly is wrong and unlawful and constitutes an unlawful use of State facilities,” the former Attorney General said.