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The Opposition, A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), has condemned what was described as the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government witch hunt against its members and supporters. In a recent statement the coalition said recent harassment and state violence against Carol Smith-Joseph is one in a long list of the state misusing its power against its political opponents.
On Police Special Organised Crime Unity (SOCU) summoned Carol Smith Joseph to appear on Friday morning, 9th December. The Opposition said in a statement the police did not provide reasons for the summon. On Wednesday, December 21, 2022 Smith Joseph was slapped with fourteen (14) indictable charges of Fraudulent Appropriation of Property of Body Corporate committed on the Mahaica Abary Rice Development Scheme (MARDS).
Pointing out SOCU was established to deal with money laundering and other special crimes, the Opposition in a statement said they believe that the allegations made against Vice President (VP) Bharrat Jagdeo can be considered special crimes.
Last June, the United States-VICE News in two explosive interviews, acting as uncover Chinese with interest in doing business in Guyana, unearthed what was described as collaboration between Chinese businesses and government officials in a bribery and money laundering scheme to win lucrative government contracts. Su Zhirong, friend and former tenant of the VP fingered the VP as a principal player in the corruption scandal.
The VP was caught on tape in an engagement with the undercover journalists and Su and was overheard saying “No, no, no I’m not getting involved in business. Su is my friend. He gets all the support. Su deals with all the agreements. I don’t. The thing is that my thing is that I’m in government, so I assist from government side.” He has however denied all allegations of wrongdoing and has since filed a multi-million-dollar defamation lawsuit against Su who allegedly cannot be found since the interview was broadcast.
According to the Opposition “one would have expected that in keeping with SOCU’s mandate there would have been an investigation into the allegations of bribery and corruption allegedly committed by the Vice President. Clearly, SOCU’s role seems to be to go after innocent people rather than those who are accused of being involved in criminal activity.”
The opposition also informed that a reliable source within SOCU has confirmed that the PPP is using that institution to go after its political opponents. Further, the coalition said they have been reliably informed SOCU is planning to target APNU+AFC Member of Parliament, Mr. Sherod Duncan for trumped-up charges. To this end, the Opposition said they are calling on the Government and SOCU to focus attention on the high crimes being committed by the PPP’s elite friends, families and favourites.
On December 15 Georgetown Mayor Pandit Ubraj Narine and Duncan were placed before the Georgetown Magistrates Court and charged with racial hostility, cybercrime and obstruction of traffic offences. Each was placed on $100,000 bail. These charges relate to their protest against the Government’s action to remove vendors from the Thomas Street area without consultation with the City Council that has authority over vending on the streets of Georgetown and concern about the vendors’ economic welfare.