APNU+AFC hired lobby firm, not the Gov’t – Ramjattan
Four days after President David Granger said he has no knowledge of who had hired a Washington-based firm to push the coalition elections narrative in the United States, Alliance For Change (AFC) Leader Khemraj Ramjattan on Tuesday said it was the APNU+AFC that hired JJ&B LLC and that Granger was “probably” not informed.
Speaking on Kaieteur radio, Ramjattan said the firm was not hired by or paid for by the Government of Guyana as is stated in the public documents on the U.S Department of Justice website.
“If it indicated that it is the Government of Guyana that contracted them, I want to make it quite clear it is not the Government of Guyana…it was APNU+AFC,” Ramjattan said.
The firm was paid a retainer for April of US$40,000 and others working for the company were paid US$8,000 each, bringing the total to US$72,000.
As per requirement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the company published details of its work, saying it was hired by the Government of Guyana.
Recently, Director-General at the Ministry of the Presidency Joseph Harmon said it was supporters of the coalition which helped to pay for the firm and not State funds.
It was Harmon who said the company was retained by the Government to push back against growing concerns in the United States over the APNU+AFC’s insistence that it had won the March 02 elections though the vote count in the largest electoral district was deemed as fraudulent.
The Director-General had said the false information is being spread by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) through a lobbyist firm it hired in 2019 –Mercury Public Affairs –for that purpose.
Subsequently, President David Granger said he knew nothing of the firm and he also did not know the firm was hired by his right-hand man, Harmon, on behalf of the Government.
In response to this, Ramjattan noted that the President was “probably” not informed of the decision to hire the firm. Granger is also the Leader of the coalition.
Ramjattan said the APNU+AFC has a right to counter the PPP’s narrative.
“I am aware that we have a contract with that company for ensuring that the narrative is put properly in the places of power in and around Washington. The narrative that is being given by the PPP is a narrative that ought to be countered,” he noted.
Ramjattan said the PPP is giving the impression that the APNU+AFC wants to rig the election but he will not partake in such events.
“I can speak on behalf of the Alliance For Change (AFC)… we will not have any rigged elections in Guyana” he said.
The United States Government has threatened to implement sanctions against Guyana if a Government is sworn in using fraudulent results.