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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 political leaders are now even more helplessly entangled in this web that was there all along, and which drags them right into the center of its vortex, both leaders and their middlemen agents. This is whether leaders are tainted or not, and no matter the muscular attempts of the PPP Government to wish this way, 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 local political leaders, most of all the Vice President, live under a cloud, and which has now thickened. It is the usual fallout that comes from wanting to be too close to dirty business, for whatever reason, which results in everything tiering up to their doorsteps, even if they are unattached and innocent. I say it again, I have my reservations on both counts, for most of them been far from inspiring, and unpersuasive in their stuttering 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. It is how well the tricks in government business are compartmentalized, how middlemen operate freely, how uninhibited they are, due to the sources of their power, which comes from the top. The middlemen serve as bagmen and protect the big ones from getting their hands stained, names called.
I recall how the Americans were up in arms about money laundering here and were about no prisoners taken. 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…