After President blanked U.S. lobby firm, Harmon teams up with Patterson in new contract

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After President David Granger disavowed a contract with a U.S. lobby firm hired to prop up the image of the caretaker government and its legitimacy in the U.S. capital Washington, a new contract is now in place – this time between APNU and AFC and signed by their General Secretaries Joseph Harmon and David Patterson.

The original contract with the firm JJ&B was undertaken by the government, with Joseph Harmon signing as the then Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency.

It turns out the contract was signed without the knowledge and consent of the President and he, the President, said so when the documents were published on the website of the Department of Justice and reported by local media.

“The Government of Guyana has not hired JJ&B, LLC and has no contractual arrangement or affiliation with the said firm,” the President said in a statement issued by the Ministry of the President last month.

It is unclear if this contract was terminated.

But new documents filed with the United States Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) on April 24, 2020 indicate that a new contract was signed between the lobbying firm and the Coalition on April 20.

That agreement was signed by Harmon and Patterson on behalf of the coalition, and Bart Fisher of JJ&B.

According to the public document, the agreement will expire on March 30, 2021, and will attract a monthly retainer payment of US$40,000. The contract may be renewed or terminated at an earlier day by mutual agreement.

The contract details a number of projects through which the lobbying firm will “promote the interests of the Coalition”.

Among those projects is engagement with contacts in the Office of the President of the U.S. including the country’s National Security Council.

JJ&B will also seek to restore legitimacy of the Government of Guyana by engaging the U.S. Department of Justice. Contacts within the U.S. Department of State will also be lobbied by underscoring the importance of the U.S. partnership with Guyana, the document states.

The firm will also endeavor to “improve the perception” of the APNU+AFC, as it has been tainted by the discoveries of electoral fraud which sought to hand it a victory at the polls on March 2.

The contract states that the electoral issues confronting the Coalition requires “experienced public policy experts with direct relationships with the principals in the U.S. Government responsible for managing the U.S. -Guyana relationship”.

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