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United States-based media outlet Vice News will tonight at 8 p.m. air “Guyana for Sale & Moors Rising” on Showtime television network. Those who don’t have access to Showtime, could tune in to Mark Benschop 107.1 FM Radio and online. Benschop, on his Straight Up programme last evening, gave commitment to carry the interview live. There was an earlier live stream of the interview on Showtime which can be seen at https://www.sho.com/vice/season/3/episode/7/guyana-for-sale-and-moors-rising
Last February, Vice News investigative journalist, Isobel Yeung, interviewed Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo in what could be described as an explosive exchange. In the interview, a video recording released by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), a visibly uncomfortable Jagdeo denied involvement in corrupt activities and sought to blame the A Partnership For National Unity & Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Government for Guyana dropping two points in Transparency International Corruption Index.
Guyana’s two-point increase in the corruption index happened in the first year of the PPP/C returning to government. During the APNU+AFC Government, Guyana’s status on the Corruption Index was improving, likewise efforts to remove the stain of the country being the most corrupt in the English-speaking Caribbean. The journalist, undeterred by the deflection, probed Jagdeo further about allegations of corruption in Guyana. She referenced having information of the Vice President’s close relationship to a Chinese lobbyist, identified as Su Zhi Rong, admitting to having access to him to secure contracts.
When a visibly upset Jagdeo was supplied information, via a reported statement, about malfeasance, he accused the journalist of foreigners seeking to taint Guyana and small societies as ours. Su, shortly after the release of the PPP/C’s video, issued a statement denying involvement in corrupt activities. Mark Benschop, last evening, on his Straight Up programme, aired an interview with him and Su, the latter admitting having a relationship with Jagdeo, and renting a house from him in Pradoville II. Su said he pays Jadgeo a monthly rent of $1.2 million and his payments are made via cheque.
When news of the Vice interview broke in February, the AFC and People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) called for an investigation. Claiming there is more in the “mortar than the pestle,” the AFC said there is reason to be suspicious about the allegation, citing the PPP/C Government’s decision to overturn its decision to award China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCECL) the contract for the construction of the new bridge across the Demerara River. The decision to overturn the contract came at a time when the Vice President was accused of taking bribes from Chinese investors to land large scale contracts, leaving more questions than answers. The PNCR said the allegations against the country’s Vice President warrant an investigation.
From the video below, a visibly upset and animated Jagdeo is seen vociferously defending himself and talking over Yeung. The Vice President has since denied allegations of corruption in his press conference of February 8.