OPINION: Latest VICE News revelations -more trouble in Guyana, more worry for Govt. leaders

Last Updated on Friday, 8 July 2022, 10:24 by Denis Chabrol

by GHK Lall

There was this headline titled “VICE News airs more claims about laundering, bribes by Chinese businessmen here” (SN July 8), and others pointing to the same on social media, and they are sure to start more storms here.  Just when Guyanese thought that this controversial issue has had it day, and would die a natural death, up it comes again, and how.  Now it is more sprawling and more piercing, and I can’t see how this is going to go away as easily as before.  Further, it is beginning to dawn on me that this pesky media creature, VICE News, is not going to go away anytime soon.  But regardless of whom is fingered, the bottom line is that Guyana’s Vice President is now even more helplessly entangled in this web that was there all along, and which drags him right into the center of its vortex.  This is whether he is tainted or not, and no matter the muscular attempts of the PPP Government to wish this away, or supporters to climb all over it and suppress it.  This is because I detect that there is so much more at work than the ordinary Guyanese can begin to fathom.

I have said before that the Vice President now lives under a cloud, and this could only mean that it has thickened.  It is the usual fallout that comes from wanting to control everything, and being in everything, for whatever reason, which results in everything tiering up to his doorstep, even if unattached and innocent.  I say it again, I have my reservations on both counts, for he has been far from inspiring in his record, and unpersuasive in his defenses.  At bottom, and however sifted through, I get the distinct impression that the hatchets are out, and I am trying to figure out who are the ones wielding them behind the scenes, and how many more of these damaging weapons they have in stock.

My two prime candidates are the Chinese and, believe it or not, the Americans.  The Chinese have an axe to grind, and I am not fooled by that lovely picture postcard ditty involving the President and Ambassador about decades of fraternity.  Somebody got spurned somewhere, and there are countless avenues where this could have taken place, and now there is hell to pay.  Somebody didn’t get enough (or getting too much, which Americans don’t like), suspect that they are being locked out, even being ready for marginalization (the Chinese), which led to this newest media strike.  Who is really whom, and responsible, is the question?  Things are so far gone, that the Chinese are engaging in what I call self-incriminating (according to VICE News), and about money laundering, of all things.  To me this doesn’t come as any surprise, given my knowledge of history, what takes place right here, and for a while now.

I recall how the Americans were up in arms about money laundering here and were for more of a take no prisoners approach.  They wanted bodies, as in people hauled before the courts in chains.  Just a few days ago, I wrote of the various covers under which money is being laundered here under the easy covering of hotel construction, and I think the same could be happening right under our noses, under the guise of financing our national budget.  The Americans don’t like that because it throws a big spanner in what they are trying to put their arms around in this region under the CFATF umbrella.  It was a struggle under the PNC, but efforts were found encouraging, and limited inroads were made, despite tremendous resistance from every corner, including inside government.  On the other hand, I think that the floodgates have since collapsed, and it is a free-for-all in frontier Guyana, with all this oil, downstream developments, and what not.  My sense is that the big people, read President, Vice President, Attorney General, and Finance maestro, are not listening, and this alarms the Americans.  I urge my fellow Guyanese to pay close attention to what the American Ambassador found fit to highlight during her American Independence Day address to her audience of Guyanese powers (more on this another time).

Now I find it eerie that after Her Excellency spoke about transparency, and less than a week later, we have more disclosures from VICE News about bribes, and now money laundering.  I had my time with that a while back, and it is interesting that the time has now come for that to reappear as something of concern.  I think the Americans are concerned, and are signaling that something needs to give.  I appreciate that as the messenger pointing to heroic leaders, I would be damned for my troubles.   Still, I put it out there that there is trouble in governance camps, and let my betters decide for themselves.  Georgetown, we have a problem.  Serious ones at serious levels.  More pending.