One of his advisors, Brian Tiwarie, who accompanied him, had his appointment rescinded on Tuesday, mere hours after Kaieteur News reported on it.
Tiwarie was with the Minister in China.
A terse statement from the Ministry of the Presidency said: “The appointment of Mr. Brian Tiwarie as Ministerial Advisor on Business Development has been rescinded.”
The report of the appointment was heavily criticized on social media, especially by supporters of the coalition Government.
The visit itself by Harmon came under scrutiny on social media with questions asked yesterday about the “real” reasons.
The Minister was reportedly in China with Larry London, Chairman of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority and Chinese loggers/investors, Su Zhi Rong and Chu Hongbo.
Accompanying the Minister on the trip from New York to China last Monday were a close relative and a member of his office.
Social media comments questioned whether Minister Harmon was in China to talk about the purchase of an aircraft for Government.
New reports recently said that the administration had received a proposal for the purchase of the plane amidst concerns that travel expenses for senior Government officials have been mounting.
However, Government officials had dismissed the reports of the plane purchase.
Yesterday, the attention by bloggers was whether the China trip by the Minister was state-sponsored especially in light of the absence of business officials from the Government.
“Is China the best place to buy a jet for our President? Will he meet or hold meetings with bosses of BaiShanLin about that company’s ongoing legal troubles with our Government?” one blogger asked.
Questions were also asked whether it was an official trip paid for by Guyanese taxpayers.
Tiwarie is one of Guyana’s biggest contractors when it comes to infrastructural works. He has branched off to other businesses including mining, quarrying, real estate and aviation.
He was close to the previous PPP/C Government, but immediately offered his help to spruce up the Brickdam area for the new administration following their victory at the May 11 General Elections.
His appointment as a Ministerial Advisor was not announced by the Government.
It was signed by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, on January 19, 2016.
Under the previous administration, BK International won several contracts, including the East Bank Demerara four-lane extension, the West Coast Demerara road improvement project and the troubled $600M Supenaam wharf, which is now facing problems and has to be repaired.
The company also clashed with Government on the management of the Haags Bosch dumpsite project.
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