Sensationalised failed attempt to implicate VP Jagdeo in corruption regurgitated

Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo during his interview with the Vice News journalist

Social media commentary ahead of an episode on Guyana by United States-based media outlet, VICE News, which will be aired today, has been dismissed by senior officials within the Government since the interview was already released on February 5, 2022.

The full interview was aired February 5 following the almost two-hour interview with Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo by a Journalist of VICE Media Group, which was conducted on February 1, 2022.

In the interview being aired by Showtime television network, which is now only 16 minutes, a Chinese businessman Su Zhi Rong, who operates in Guyana claimed to be close friends with Guyana’s Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo but also made clear in undercover the interview that Jagdeo does not take bribes.

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo being interviewed by Vice News journalist Isobel Yeung on February 1, 2022

Jagdeo in the ‘undercover’ conversation did specify that he can assist with investment deals but made it clear that he will not get involved in any financial dealings.

In the preview released ahead of the full airing, Su Zhi Rong is heard referring to Jagdeo saying, “his hands are very clean.”

In February, the vice president in response to the interview had said: “I help a lot of people but without consideration… I see lots of companies, but is not for money or a bribe… She asked me about the laws we are changing to help the contractors… she then went on to say that Su said we have changed the Constitution of Guyana so we can give them contracts… I don’t know that I have the power to change the Constitution of Guyana to give contracts to people.”

During the interview, after asking innocuous questions about the policies of the Government on investment in light of the massive oil find, the reporter suddenly alleged that based on “information” she had received, a Chinese logger named “Su” claimed that the only way to do business in Guyana was to pay incentives.

These allegations were immediately rebutted. The reporter’s line of questioning suggested that Guyana was taking financial incentives from the Chinese hence most of the contracts that are being awarded were given to Chinese contractors.

The Vice President had previously said that he knew ‘Su’, who was a tenant at his property, but he cannot respond to questions on hearsay that either the reporter or the claimed informant could have concocted.

He said that if there is evidence that ‘Su’ was using his name for financial gain then he will have to take legal actions against the businessman.

On February 9, the Chinese Embassy based in Georgetown, Guyana, slammed the distortion of the facts on Guyana’s bilateral relations with China, making it clear that relations with the two countries, inclusive of business relations, are founded on the law and international practices.

According to the statement from the Chinese Embassy, which is headed by Chinese Ambassador to Guyana Guo Haiyan, “China-Guyana friendly cooperation, featuring equality, mutual benefit, innovation, openness, and benefits for the people, is in accordance with the interests of the two countries and two peoples, not against any third party, nor should it be influenced by a third party.”

From a business perspective, Haiyan was adamant that Chinese companies operational in Guyana adhere to all applicable laws. From a foreign policy perspective, she also expressed China’s appreciation for Guyana’s support for the One China principle.