GUYANA: Shocking bribery disclosures regarding Vice-President Bharrat Jagdeo +video

EDITORIAL – By Stabroek News – July 10, 2022

Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo, and President Irfaan Ali

The most disquieting report we have carried in a very long time appeared in our edition of July 8. It was an account of the extended version of VICE News’s video documentary titled ‘Guyana For Sale’, the initial portion of which had been carried on June 18. This part had consisted largely of an interview with Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo and his tenant, Mr Su Zhirong, along with a VICE reporter posing as a Chinese businessman interested in a deal here. The meeting had been arranged, according to the documentary, in order to demonstrate to the supposed entrepreneur that Mr Su, a middleman, had “access at the highest level.”

In the clips of the interview which were shown Mr Jagdeo did not implicate himself directly in the ‘business deal’, and he later strenuously denied any implication that he was associated with corrupt practices. As for Mr Su’s specific allegations about him accepting bribes, he responded that his tenant had abused their friendship for his own gain and had lied about him, and if VICE News had been discerning, then they would have realised they were “being duped”.  Subsequently he announced he was bringing a defamation suit against Mr Su, who not surprisingly is no longer his tenant.       

But this latest expanded version of the ‘Guyana For Sale’ feature is of an entirely different order. It will have Guyanese wondering whether they are really masters in their own land, and who in reality makes the decisions. What does independence mean if our assets can be sold off to greedy business interests, no matter what their nationality, through processes of corruption where the state and its agencies become irrelevant.

The VICE reporters who were native Mandarin speakers seemed to have had no difficulty going undercover to garner information on Chinese business practices here. The reporter, Ms Yeung, together with her undercover colleague who was referred to as Mr Chan, pretended to be investors interested in mining, logging and construction. They were eventually guided to what was said to be a lucrative deal involving prime lands on which a hotel and casino could be built.

They told Mr Su that their capital was tied up in China, which has strict controls over sending money overseas, and he arranged a meeting with money launderers. One of them told Ms Yeung “You give me RMB [Chinese currency] and I can give you cash tomorrow.”  This was done by a procedure known as “flying money,” whereby money is placed in a bank account in China, and the equivalent amount minus a substantial fee is taken out in Guyana. By this means taxes and border restrictions can be circumvented.

The laundering fee, they were told, is based on the source of the money. The launderer said: “Tell me about your money. If it’s drug money, the client will tell me that. There is a way to handle that. For ‘dirty’ money from corrupt Chinese officials, we have another way to do it… If you want cash we charge 20 per cent now…” The least that can be said is that this speaks to a well-established system which has been in place for some time, not to mention the association with the proceeds of the drugs trade.

When the men were asked into which account money should be paid to ensure Mr Jagdeo’s intervention. Mr Su replied, “Once the money is in Guyana. I will give him cash. The Vice President finds this the easiest and most convenient.”  Ms Yeung was already familiar with claims of the need for the Vice President’s intervention in business enterprises. When she enquired from a logging exporter, for example, which connection in the country was the most important, she was informed, “Basically, as long as you have a good relationship with the Vice President, you are set. You don’t need the President. The Vice President. One call will take care of everything.” In another context it was mentioned other Guyanese officials had to be paid as well.

There were various encounters with Chinese businessmen in different locations with the reporters wearing body cams, but one of them, at a retreat which appeared as though it might be up the Demerara River, the timber exporter referred to above advised them on how best to work the system. “Everything is under the table,” he said, while another interjected, “the whole country is like that.” A third one laughed and added, “It would be more worrying if they weren’t corrupt.”

Well the whole country is not like that: there are thousands and thousands of Guyanese who struggle every day to earn an honest dollar in order to feed themselves and their children. If they saw the documentary or read our report on it, they must be either disbelieving or feeling quite sick. In a kind of amorphous sense everyone knows about corruption, but nothing systematised on this scale.

Ms Yeung also met the General Manager of one of China’s largest construction companies which, she said, was linked directly to the Chinese Communist Party. The impression she obtained was that this company appeared to do business here “very much under the table,” going on to observe that the “Beijing authorities know exactly what is going on.”

She also said that Mr Su had showed them documents of businesses which he had handled as well as those of others in which he had played a role, including a large road project. There was also correspondence in relation to Amaila Falls.

Following the broadcast of this latest episode of Chinese corruption in Guyana, the Chinese Embassy issued a statement saying that both their government and the Communist Party of China have a zero tolerance policy in relation to corruption. China is a country under the rule of law, the statement averred, and Chinese nationals were requested to comply with laws and regulations as well as actively fulfil local social responsibilities. In a comment which could well have come out of our own Presidential Secretariat, VICE News was accused of seeking to undermine the China-bilateral relationship.

This is not good enough. Given what was shown on the video through the agency of body cams, Beijing cannot let this pass without appearing complicit. President Xi Jinping has built his reputation partly on fighting corruption, and the Chinese government should show some energy now in pursuing those of its nationals who are not only in breach of Guyana’s laws, but of its own financial regulations. It is a clear case of soft power gone wrong. It wants to believe, no doubt, that the Americans are behind these disclosures, but the issue is not who is behind them, but whether or not they are true. And prima facie there is a case to answer. It will be far worse for China’s reputation if Guyana pursues an investigation, while Beijing is mired in a posture of denial.

And then there is Guyana. After the Vice President showed a clip of the interview with Messrs Su and Chan in February before the first installment of the documentary was shown, President Irfaan Ali said the allegations against Mr Jagdeo had been made for the sake of sensationalism. They are certainly sensational, but there is no sensationalism involved. The President then moved into traditional PPP mode accusing the accuser without answering the accusations. The government had received intelligence, he said, which raised questions about the VICE journalist’s (Ms Yeung’s) credibility. Information suggested, he went on, that she had been sent here by a “special group” with a “special interest”.  “My government is above board,” he said.

Again, it doesn’t matter which ‘special interest’ she might represent, the point is unless the documentary were proved incontrovertibly to be a fake, which is highly unlikely, its contents demand answers. Nor does it matter too much how little Ms Yeung knows about the country Guyana; the contents of the video still demand answers.

This is not to say that Chinese businessmen have a monopoly on corruption; far from it. If officials accept bribes from them, they will undoubtedly accept bribes from all sources; it is just that in the case of the Chinese it might be on more of an industrial scale. At the very least it is more organised. The general situation is made worse by the fact that the few autonomous institutions which are intended to protect Guyanese are being emasculated, from the EPA with the firing of Dr Vincent Adams, to the dismissal of Dr Marlan Cole of the Food and Drugs Department – although the latter must have occurred at the behest of local Guyanese businessmen. It has taken nearly two years, for example, to appoint the Procurement Commission.

It is hard to pursue generalised corruption when the country lacks the tools to do so, but for the first time there is now an undercover account of what is going on in the Chinese sector. It now behoves the President to avoid the excuses and set up a Commission of Inquiry into what has been alleged in the documentary. Its members should largely come from outside the country for it to have any credibility, and ideally it should have the cooperation of the Chinese who under normal circumstances would not want their nationals answering before a foreign tribunal. If the Chinese themselves are sincere about combating corruption, however, there may be diplomatic ways around that.

If the government fails to address what has been revealed by VICE News, it will have failed in its mandate to the Guyanese nation.

Undercover In Guyana: Exposing Chinese Business in South America

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Comments

  • Cheryl Smith  On 07/10/2022 at 1:07 pm

    Ali & Jagdeo are wicked, evil scoundrels that are in cahoots with the unscrupulous Chinese government to take over Guyana for a fist full of dollars.
    Guyana is no longer beautiful since those two monsters stole their way into the presidency. Their corruption are beyond words.
    Nothing like this has ever happened during President Granger’s term in office. Guyana had gained respectability and tourism was increasing. There were NO racial or orchestrated killings by President Granger’s government officials. Everyone was treated EQUAL in every respect.
    Since Ali & Jagdeo planted themselves in the Presidential office, every corruption from drugs, murders etc have taken over Guyana. 99% of the Indians that are in support of their corruption and are benefiting from them are quite happy and satisfied with their crookish behaviour. The entire world is watching those two dumb scoundrels. LOOK AT THE TREMENDOUS Cheryl LEVEL OF DISGRACE THOSE TWO CROOKS HAVE BROUGHT TO GUYANA . 🥲😭

    • Kman  On 07/10/2022 at 2:46 pm

      You forgot to mention Mr Burnham reign, and also Mr Granger involvement in the voting boxes in the sixties.

      At the end of the day, most politicians are corrupt, doesn’t matter which part of the world they are in!

    • theonly  On 07/12/2022 at 2:25 pm

      Dont forget about the 123456 people that died when Jagdeo was in power.

    • Age  On 07/12/2022 at 10:37 pm

      It’s the drugs which trouble me. My brother was living next to a trap house in the west end of Toronto and he had Toronto Police knocking at his door because the drug abusers wanted him to leave the neighborhood. Today it’s known as Jane-Sheppard

      • Dennis Albert  On 07/17/2022 at 9:44 pm

        Those drug lords and their enablers who traffic narcotics like cocaine should be given the death penalty and stoned to death. They are scum.

        How we Guyanese live with 20 billion barrels of oil, yet the drug traffickers and gold smugglers are becoming richer and richer. Meanwhile, that donkey Bharrat Jagdeo is helping Guyana get sell out of her natural resources to the Chinese money launderers.

        Guyana needs a strict government like Singapore where all dem drug lord get executed and corruption is not tolerated.

    • Emily  On 07/18/2022 at 11:17 pm

      Guyana is being sold out to the highest bidder, while the Guyanese here complain that children are being physically abused by their teachers as a disciplinary measure.

      How could Guyana have any discipline when the politicians and political elite are involved in corruption and illegal activities?

      My heart weeps for those abused children who will live a far worse life in Guyana while the criminals wine and dine with Bacardi and Ciroc.

  • erroldoobay  On 07/11/2022 at 2:58 am

    AS A PERSON WHO WAS BORN IN GUYANA IN 1944 I HAVE SEEN IT ALL .ALL POLITICANS HAVE A PRICE

  • Age  On 07/12/2022 at 10:33 pm

    These same class of Chinese businessmen are getting all the prime lands and reselling it to overseas based Guyanese. Beware!

  • Dennis Albert  On 07/17/2022 at 9:41 pm

    Dem teacher who does lash up their students with whip for spelling mistake should watch this video and reflect on what they are doing.

    While they beating up the school children, the Chinese money launderer is doing illegal activities, bribes and money laundering at the expense of Guyanese.

    Drug traffickers are living in large mansions at Atlantic Gardens, and are becoming richer and richer with oil.

    Yet, Guyanese children getting whipped for spelling mistake. The Devil is in Guyana.

    • Emily  On 07/18/2022 at 11:13 pm

      Guyana is a failed state. A Vice President who is close friends with a Chinese businessman who has ties with money launderers is someone who shouldn’t be in office.

      I laugh when I hear Bharrat Jagdeo’s supporters tell me that my country, the United States of America is a worse country than Guyana.

      Sure there are mass shootings, racism and white privilege, but in Guyana, the racial tensions between Indians and Blacks are becoming so severe that my relatives from Guyana tell me that they wouldn’t be surprised if there is a covert operation to create a 1994 Rwanda in South America.

      Corruption is terrible in Guyana. So is the child abuse that you are mentioning. You are right. Why whip these young children when the criminals are becoming richer and lead a better life than the abused children in the dilapidated public schools you have in Guyana?

      A friend who was a student of the top public school Queen’s College Secondary School told me that the washrooms were in poor condition that the toilets couldn’t flush and it was a literal dumpsite of human waste and maggots in the toilet. Where did the oil monies go?

      • Dennis Albert  On 07/19/2022 at 8:52 am

        Good morning,
        Don’t stress on the PPP soup drinkers. They believe that they will get a piece of the pie from the oil revenues. They eye shine up when they see G$25,000 (US$110) cash grant, but fail to consider that, hypothetically, the big (fictitious) man like Alphonso and Shell are probably making US$25,000,000 or more from ‘allegedly’ questionable state contracts.

      • Emily  On 08/01/2022 at 3:13 pm

        Income inequality will become a huge problem in Guyana. My relatives in Guyana are begging me to send them monies to buy groceries. The price of food is insane in Guyana.

        Meanwhile, on social media, those political elites you speak of are showing off their mansions, helicopters and European imports. Did they work an honest living to earn those assets, or did they get it illegally?

        Guyanese should ban corporal punishment in schools, because beating up these helpless children for discipline is a hypocrisy when the gold smugglers, money launderers and drug traffickers are becoming insanely rich from the oil wealth.

      • Brother Man  On 08/01/2022 at 8:21 pm

        With the PPP clan behind the wheel (and goodness knows for how long), it’s akin to the mongoose guarding the henhouse with the baby chickens running loose.

  • Dennis Albert  On 08/01/2022 at 8:19 pm

    Glenn Lall says that Su is a billionaire in US dollars.

    Guess what Emily? Minimum wage is G$44,200 a month (US$220) a month, but Su is a billionaire!

    • Brother Man  On 08/01/2022 at 10:36 pm

      This government must be removed from office at the next election before they cause more irretrievable damage to the country and the people of Guyana.

      • Emily  On 08/02/2022 at 7:10 am

        It doesn’t matter who is in power. The corrupt Chinese businessmen and the Chinese dictatorship will bribe their way in Guyana and own all of the important lands and natural resources.

        Biden promised us in the USA that he will never allow China to become a dominant power under his watch. Biden should be keenly watching Guyana right now.

        How can one Chinese businessman who wasn’t even born in Guyana, nor has Guyanese parents by birth become an oligarch literally overnight in Guyana?!

        So the more oil that Guyana discovers, the more richer and wealthier corrupt Chinese businessmen like Su and politicians like Jagdeo become?

        Then Guyanese back home think that migrating abroad will solve this problem, or that begging us for money every time looks good in the “fastest growing economy in the world”?

        As an American citizen, I am deeply concerned about the influence that corrupt Chinese officials have in Guyana. Who knows if China will use Guyana as a launching pad to attack the USA?

    • Chris  On 08/02/2022 at 12:39 am

      While we discuss Su Zhirong and his plethora of business involvements in Guyana, as well as allegations of Jagdeo’s bribery scandal, don’t forget that Joseph Harmon, Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, was photographed next to Su Zhirong while on a dubious business trip to China in 2016.

      The bottom line is, it doesn’t really matter who is in charge, we Guyanese are doomed.

      • Emily  On 08/02/2022 at 7:03 am

        This is what happens when China is trying to dominate the world using corruption, bribes and burdensome loans.

        As Americans like to criticize America, would any human want to live in a world where Guyanese are begging their relatives abroad for money to buy a pound of potatoes, while the Chinese elite like Su Zhirong become very wealthy through brokering deals with corrupt Chinese companies and the Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo?

        As an American-Guyanese, I do not want Chinese sweatshop culture in my parent’s homeland. The corrupt Chinese officials must be purged from Guyana. There is the Miranda Act that America must abide by.

        If America has to invade Guyana through the US Navy or US Army, and extradite these corrupt Chinese gangsters, then so be it. They are just like terrorists in the Middle East laundering the proceeds of crime, while the Guyanese back home are starving and begging we in America for money to quote from Albert “hungry belly”.

        These corrupt Chinese businessmen are a cancer to Guyana. They own most of the natural resources while the Guyanese back home and abroad cannot even get a parcel of land.

      • Dennis Albert  On 08/02/2022 at 7:14 pm

        Chris we gon deal with Harmon later. We need to stop complicating matters. Once Jagdeo’s ties to Canada, Florida and Swiss bank accounts are revealed, Su Zhirong should be extradited to China or face trial by military firing squad in Singapore for corruption.
        We as Guyanese are suffering big time while these cockroaches are getting richer and richer. Tension building up in Guyana.
        Nobody likes a SuSu in GT.

      • Chris  On 08/02/2022 at 8:52 pm

        I agree with you fully, Dennis! Jagdeo has clearly betrayed our nation and our people.

        That Su character ought to be booted from our land as soon as possible!

      • Dennis Albert  On 08/03/2022 at 2:24 pm

        Chris I remember growing up in primary school, how we used to get whipped by bizzy bizzy bush for not doing the right thing. This was from 2000-2004.

        Meanwhile, as we were getting whipped as discipline, Su Zhirong and his corrupt cockroaches from China were busy applying for Guyanese citizenship and bribing our politicians, including Jagdeo to access our prime lands and vast reserves of natural resources.

        Today, I am an adult with psychological wounds, unable to afford a house lot in Guyana, while Su Zhirong reportedly owns land as large as Caribbean islands. Is there a God?

      • Chris  On 08/03/2022 at 8:22 pm

        “… while Su Zhirong reportedly owns land as large as Caribbean islands.

        Is there a God?”

        Apparently, Su is a god.

    • Emily  On 08/02/2022 at 6:56 am

      Good luck Guyanese back home. So much oil, yet so much suffering.

      You have oligarchs who weren’t even born in Guyana and became wealthy overnight, while on my socials, Guyanese back home are begging me for money and telling me that they are starving and cannot afford food.

      When I read the Stabroek News and Kaieteur News, somebody is murdering or robbing someone else. However, the few wealthy individuals in the corrupt corridors of power are owning those massive mansions and commercial buildings in Georgetown and East Coast.

      • Age  On 08/02/2022 at 2:48 pm

        Emily the Chinese money launderers are here in Canada too. They own a city named Markham, Ontario. Sheer Chinese writing.
        Ask any Chinese businessman in Guyana about “Mawkam Wantario”. Chinese man buy u that entire city

      • Dennis Albert  On 08/02/2022 at 7:11 pm

        Emily send me a G$1000 to buy a box fried rice from the Chinese money launderer business masquerading as a Chinese restaurant. Su Zhirong probably owns that too.

        Me hungry belly.

        Must go into Diamond New Scheme. There are girls as young as 5 and 6 being forced by their parents to give oral to wealthy Guyanese businessmen for G$1,000 a suck. It’s not nancy story. Some of those girls does go with the man into the hotels, like Tower and Pegasus.

      • Emily  On 08/03/2022 at 5:28 pm

        OMG is there a child protection service in Guyana?

        If any of those perverts are American citizens, then I think that should be forwarded to the FBI to arrest them when they land in the USA for sex trafficking crimes against minors.

      • Dennis Albert  On 08/05/2022 at 9:19 am

        I’m afraid that the businessmen have more clout and connections. The incidents are settled with bribes and hush money.

        There were two children age 6 and 7 I believe, who ate food from the genitals of a female shop keeper, but because the shopkeeper offered money and was well known to the PPP, the story was settled.

      • Emily  On 08/08/2022 at 6:26 am

        That means that the rich will pay off children hush money to stay quiet on the sexual abuse?
        Guyana has to change her laws to protect the poor and children. Guyana doesn’t need an elite of Jeffrey Epsteins and Harvey Weinsteins running amok

  • Age  On 08/02/2022 at 2:45 pm

    I agree that the criminals from China should be kicked out from Guyana, but I don’t think a military invasion will help Guyana.
    The Chinese money laundering problem is a global issue. Chinese criminals are buying away real estate here in Canada too

    • Emily  On 08/03/2022 at 5:30 pm

      Your Canadian government is complicit in protecting a wanted criminal by refusing to initially detain her and extradite her to the USA to face trial for money laundering with a terrorist agent in Iran.
      China is a threat to national security and democracy in the world. It’s no surprise that Guyana is becoming owned by the Chinese criminals. The FBI and CIA should be in Guyana right now and end the Chinese influence in Guyana.

  • Dennis Albert  On 08/02/2022 at 7:06 pm

    Is there a Freedom of Information Act to find out which cockroach from China are laundering monies into Markham, Ontario?

    Since you’re in Canada, get Mark Benschop to help you find out if any of Su Zhirong’s businesses are in Markham, Ontario, or anywhere in the city of Ontario.

    Find out if Su Zhirong has any ties to Canada, like how the Canadian government gold board was importing smuggled gold from a Guyanese gold exporter.

    If these cockroaches and money launderers aren’t dealt with accordingly, we as Guyanese will suffer.

    Su Zhirong, Shell, Alphonso and the gold smugglers and cocaine exporters are striking it rich every time Exxon discovers oil, while we Guyanese BAWL AND BEG for pennies.

    You right Emily. HUNGRY BELLY BAD IN GUYANA.

    That dirty stinking cockroach Su Zhirong would get gunned down the military firing squad if he did that in Singapore. Every time I see Su Zhirong’s face in the papers I livestream it on FB and light his effigy on fire.

    • Age  On 08/03/2022 at 2:57 pm

      Young chap you got a lot to learn about corruption. It’s not only a blame Jagdeo thing.
      While our healthcare is falling apart, Justin Trudeau is busy taking another vacation. Canada also has run arounds to stymie FOI requests. As a private citizen, I am at a huge disadvantage and risk that corrupt Toronto Police will harass me with threats to arrest me.
      If Su Zhirong does have assets in Canada, it is none of my business to put my name out there to get targeted by the Canadian and Guyanese government. We have to choose our battles wisely. Canada has the same level of corruption like Guyana, but with colder weather, women who act like men, and high rental costs. I do agree that the USA 🇺🇸 has to stop the Chinese in their tracks.

      • Dennis Albert  On 08/05/2022 at 9:15 am

        So Bharrat Jagdeo was right when he said that only non-white countries are put under the microscope for corruption while the First World calls it lobbying?

        Bharrat Jagdeo is no saint, but if the money laundering Chinese mafia are a huge problem worldwide, then why isn’t America doing anything? America invades Third World countries and destroys the livelihoods of millions of citizens in the name of democracy.

        Why are Chinese criminals allowed to run rampant in Canada?

      • Emily  On 08/08/2022 at 6:23 am

        Age why is there a homeless crisis in Canada?

  • wally n  On 08/04/2022 at 12:55 pm

    There are two types of voting blocks in Ontario/Toronto and probably other Provinces. Hard and not too hard. The Chinese voting block is hard as concrete, when they promise support, you get it all (almost) but they will hold you to promises made. The Muslim block is not as hard little more diverse, in Muslim areas, never close to 100%, but they also expect, promises kept. I know a lil bit of the Chinese influence first hand.
    Before you snatch your curved swords, MY OPINION!!!

    • Age  On 08/04/2022 at 2:19 pm

      The Chinese money launderers and the fentanyl gangs own up an entire city north of Toronto. Coincidentally Markham was where Charandass was alleged to have been seen after he did a no confidence vote in Guyana.

      • Brother Man  On 08/04/2022 at 11:52 pm

        Those stinking crooks belong in the jailhouse, not in the people’s house!

        Their day of reckoning is coming!

      • Dennis Albert  On 08/05/2022 at 9:23 am

        Uncle Age,
        Yuh know that if we as Guyanese see any Chinese writing on a public taxpayer-funded sign, we get angry and complain to the M&CC?

        Robb St is sheer Chinese writing. While the so-called Indo-Guyanese and so-called Afro-Guyanese are fighting mattie, the Chinese money launderer is buying up Guyana and Susuing the country.

        Susu getting thousands of square miles of land faster than 100,000 Guyanese getting house lots.

    • Brother Man  On 08/07/2022 at 7:12 pm

      Eh, eh!

      Alyuh talk nah! De boss is on vacation but he left de house unlocked for a reason!

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