Opposition Leader and General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Bharrat Jagdeo, said he is satisfied with the effectiveness of Mercury Public Affairs and believes his party got value for the $34 million contract it signed with the US consulting firm.
Fielding questions about the company at this weekly press conference on Wednesday, Jagdeo pointed out that he is happy with the decision to hire the lobbyist firm and did so after reviewing their work and found it to be “effective” – something which the PPP needs.
“We’re very happy with the firm, we’re happy with its credentials, we’re happy that the firm is a bipartisan firm – both Democrats and Republicans… We need an effective firm to counter the lies being told by the APNU (A Partnership for National Unity) in Washington… Every cent is worth it,” he contended.
Jagdeo said that the US lobbyist firm was contracted early in March and was paid for by funds donated to the party. The main role of Mercury is to advise the PPP on its presence in Washington and to ensure that its views are being heard by policymakers at every level in the US and internationally.
According to the Opposition Leader, the PPP needs to establish its presence in Washington since many international organisations and even the US Government can be tainted by the coalition Government’s misrepresentation of the issues in Guyana.
“So we have to have a presence there [in Washington] so that we can have access to those bodies [and] we can bring a balance to what is being peddled in those circles. So, therefore, we took that step as a party to have that presence and we’re going to continue with that presence,” he insisted.
The PPP General Secretary went on to outline that he has already seen evidence of the benefit of recruiting Mercury Public Affairs to work on the party’s behalf. In fact, during a recent visit to the North American state, he was able to meet with senior functionaries of both the executive and legislative level of the US Government.
“I believe we’re getting all our views into all the circles that matters so when the lies come from Guyana through the various sources and Government, people can ask the right questions from them. One thing I’ve gotten out of Washington from the executive – the senior functionaries I met there – as well as the Congress, is that they will pay careful attention to Guyana and support free and fair elections,” he asserted.
Jagdeo, also a former President of Guyana, posited that it is unfortunate that party members have to travel all the way to the US to ensure that free and fair elections prevail in Guyana.
“All the PPP wants is free and fair elections in Guyana, that what we’re lobbying for. It’s a shame that we have to, in the 21st century – go to Washington to lobby for free and fair elections just because of this Government’s transgressions: refusal to accept a no-confidence vote; install one of their persons in GECOM [Guyana Elections Commission]; violating the Constitution and 25 years of history; and threatening democracy once again. It’s a shame we have to do this,” he pointed out.
Responding to questions about the company’s implication in several contentious matters in the US, Jagdeo explained that he has examined all of this and is now looking at the company versus a partner in the company who had issues. He added too that the bipartisan nature of the company, as well as its effectiveness, were critical factors for the party’s decision to hire the company.
“In the US system, if [the firm] is lobbying on behalf of anyone, they have to register who they’re doing so on behalf of. If they violate anything in that registration, that ethics, the US system picks it up and deals with it. So the mere fact that this firm is still operating in Washington and is very effective, means it is in good standing and in good standing for me,” the Opposition Leader maintained.
Mercury Public Affairs is a high-stakes public strategy and communications firm that provides services to the world’s most successful companies, leading advocacy groups, Governments, political parties, NGOs, and prominent public and political figures, including US President Donald Trump.