4th local entity denies ties with Cambridge Analytica
Data scandal– following disavowals from political partiesWhile it is understood that Guyana is home to a branch of the SCL Group, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica (CA), the National Youth Council (NYC), has become the latest organisation to distance itself from the company, after the main political parties did so.Storage crates being wheeled from CA’s office in LondonCA, a political consulting firm from the United Kingdom, has been making headlines around the world for its alleged use of data gleaned from millions of Facebook accounts during the 2016 United States presidential elections to send targeted advertisements. There are even reports that the firm had a hand in the BREXIT campaign.Soon after an investigation was launched in the United Kingdom, the former General Secretaries of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and the Alliance for Change (AFC), Donald Ramotar and David Patterson respectively, were quoted in sections of the media denying ever contracting the company.Current General Secretary of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), Joseph Harmon, also made a similar denial.In 2015, at the time of the General and Regional Elections in Guyana, Jamal Goodluck was part of the steering committee of the NYC, which did work to improve voter turnout. In an interview with this publication on Tuesday, Goodluck, now the council’s chairman, also denied that his organisation had links with the firm.The SCL group office is located on Charlotte Street, Lacytown. However, the extent of its work in Guyana is unclear at this point. Requests from this publication for a comment and information from SCL authorities have so far not been answered.Since the expose, neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) has joined the list of countries that have launched probes into the work of the British political consultants. According to a report from the T&T Guardian, a local probe is targeting the organisation’s alleged link with the past People’s Partnership administration for the 2015 general election.The Guardian has stated that the country’s Attorney General, Faris Al Rawi, announced the moves in Parliament after Christopher Wylie, a former CA employee – now whistleblower – said the firm worked for the T&T Government in 2013 during his testimony before the House of Commons in the UK.According to the Guardian, Wylie referenced a former national security minister and CA’s monitoring of internet browsing in T&T.“The alleged acts committed by Cambridge Analytica and its affiliates potentially constitute breaches of T&T law,” Al Rawi was quoted by the Guardian as saying when he announced the action.The Attorney General also said his office would audit all Government ministries, statutory authorities, state enterprises, and the National Security Council to ascertain the truth behind whether any contracts were established, any payments made, or any services rendered by CA or its affiliates.