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…maintains Gov’t must provide details on acquisition of Russian vaccine
Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon rubbished a Guyana Times article, which indicated that he had backpedaled on his initial position and endorsed the decision of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government to acquire the Sputnik-V vaccine through Sheikh Dalmook Al Maktoum.
The article published in the Tuesday, June 22, 2021 edition of the Guyana Times under the headline “Govt made right decision in Sputnik V vaccine purchase – Harmon admits,” quoted Harmon extensively.
But Harmon, on Tuesday, said he issued no such statement. “I did not issue any statement as quoted by the article. My office issued no such statement. In fact, I issued no statement to the media yesterday, nor did I conduct any interview or speak to anyone at the Guyana Times or anyone from any other media house for that matter,” the Opposition Leader said.
Harmon said the article is malicious and libellous and seeks to impugn his character by presenting complete falsehoods to the public as fact.
“It is despicable and is outside the realm of what can be considered any form of journalism – it is purely falsehood and part of what appears to be a desperate PPP disinformation campaign,” he said.
The Opposition Leader has instructed his attorneys to take all action permitted within the law against the Guyana Times and all those responsible for the publication of this repugnant article.
“It does appear as though the PPP has been caught in a cover up of a corrupt price-gouging deal to purchase vaccines and they are now desperately attempting to distract the public attention from their malfeasance,” Harmon said.
Harmon used the opportunity to reiterate and reaffirm his position for the suspension of the administering of the Sputnik V vaccines procured from one Sheik Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum until credible information can be provided about the vaccines’ authenticity and safe storage.
“I have articulated a single, unflinching and unchanging position on this issue since the shocking revelations were made in the National Assembly by the Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony. I again repeat my call for President Irfaan Ali to address the nation in a coherent and responsible manner and provide clarity to the Guyanese people that their lives and health are not being jeopardized by the PPP’s questionable purchase of over-priced vaccines from Sheik Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum for which more than $600million was over-paid based on the world market prices,” he said.
Harmon said the matter is a very serious one which directly relates to the lives and health and wellbeing of the Guyanese people who deserve transparency and credible information and not dismissive, arrogant and flippant treatment. “The PPP must provide clear answers and not believe they can casually dismiss the genuine concerns of our people. We now further call for an independent forensic audit of this transaction with Sheik Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum,” he said.
The Opposition Leader has written the Director General of the Gamaleya National Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation. He has asked the Russian Health authority to confirm that “it could not provide the Sputnik V vaccines to the Government of Guyana either directly of via the Russian Direct Investment Fund; that Sheik Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum is a duly authorised distributor of the Sputnik V vaccine and that Sheik Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum has been supplied with Sputnik V vaccines by the Gamaleya National Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology.”
The letter was copied to PAHO-WHO, UNICEF, the European Union and the Russian Embassy in Guyana.