‘We believe in friends everywhere’ – Jagdeo says Guyana not getting caught between US/China tensions

- addresses interview with ‘anti-China Vice News’


Guyana will not be caught in the middle of any “cold-war-like” tensions between the two global superpowers: the United States (US) and China, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo has said.

This statement was made during a press briefing on Tuesday night, one day after he did an interview with the US-based Vice News that was released and aired on his official Facebook page.

During that interview, Jagdeo was asked to comment on Guyana/ China relations, including the massive projects awarded to China under his government.

After explaining that Guyana has not favoured Chinese investors nor has it benefited from special loans from China, he was asked whether he had taken bribes from Chinese investors.

“Clearly, this aggressive anti-China sentiment came through,” the Vice President declared on Tuesday evening.

Vice News has published several articles that appear to be critical of the Chinese government and Chinese practices. Jagdeo said that this anti-China media coverage would be particularly appealing in the US, thus proving beneficial for Vice.

And so, he claimed that the Vice News reporter had a “predetermined agenda” for the interview with him. He emphasised he was not playing into any such agenda, however.

“We are a small country and if you look at the interview, we do not want to be caught up in a cold-war like scenario between the United States and China,” Jagdeo said.

He added: “We believe in having friends everywhere.”


Jagdeo also strongly denied the bribe-taking allegations levelled against him by the interviewer emphasising that he has no foreign bank account where bribes are syphoned off to and that his assets have been declared at the Integrity Commission.

“They would never, ever find anyone who can say they have given me a bribe directly or indirectly because I never took a bribe and that’s why I was so confident about it,” the Vice President said.

The Vice News reporter told Jagdeo that the claims of bribery were made by a Chinese national she identified as Mr. Su and on Tuesday, Jagdeo said he spoke to Su, who has since denied making any such allegations.

Jagdeo, however, pointed out that if Su had been using his name to get favours of his own, he would discontinue meeting with Su or anyone Su has arranged for him to meet.

Jagdeo highlighted that he had routinely submitted his statement of income and assets to the Integrity Commission of Guyana.

Explaining why this is important, the Vice President said if his assets declared exceeded his income, those submissions could have triggered investigations into where that money was coming from. And if found guilty, he could have faced jail time.

The Integrity Commission is the body that examines the asset statements of public officers in an attempt to maintain transparency and accountability in the public sector. The Integrity Commission Act mandates that the Commission discharge its functions without the interference of any person or authority.

It mandates every person in public life to submit a declaration of their finances on or before June 30 every year or “where such person ceases to be a person in public life, within thirty days from the date on which the person ceases to be a person in public life”.

Further, the Vice President noted that while in government the APNU+AFC coalition had “state power” and could have accessed any local or foreign bank accounts.

“The fact is I do not have a foreign bank account.

“I have two accounts, they are both at the two local banks and all of my sources of income will be accounted for at these institutions,” the Vice President said.

Jagdeo also explained that all of the assets he has accumulated can be traced through the local banks.

In addition to the Integrity Commission mechanism, the Vice President also explained that the Guyana Police Force could be called in to investigate the allegations once there is any evidence of corruption.

But, he continued to deny those allegations, pointing out that officials of the People’s Progressive Party, including himself, had been subject to scrutiny from the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) and the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) once they demitted office.

“The worst that they could find is that I bought land from the government for lower-than-market price,” he said, noting that this claim was later disproved.

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