VICE News’ attempted hatchet job only succeeded to prove Jagdeo’s hands are clean

VICE News’ narrative over the years has been simple – developing countries and their leaders are corrupt. Corruption is truly a sore on development, but corruption is not an invention of, nor is it only rampant in developing countries. But VICE News specialises in the narrative that persons from developing countries are pawns of richer nations, big multi-national corporations and investors (both local and international) because our people are innately corrupt.
While Vice President Bharat Jagdeo was a primary target for the VICE News hatchet job that was broadcast on Showtime recently, there are three other sub-plots of the show mischievously entitled “Guyana for Sale”. First, the intention is to taint the PPP Government as corrupt. Second, the larger narrative is to present developing countries as corrupt. Third, there is the general anti-China obsession of organisations such as VICE News. In this particular case, the VICE News “exposé” entitled “Guyana for Sale” simply exposed their ugly motivations. It was a hatchet job that was brazen and clumsy.
They not only took hearsay and tried prosecuting a man who has dedicated his entire life to working for Guyana and the Guyanese people, they tried to entrap him. Having persons posing as investors who tried to bribe the Vice President is a crime and VICE News shamelessly and unsuccessfully walked that path. The Vice President totally resisted an aggressive bribery effort by fake investors set up by VICE News. With their unsuccessful ruse, they were forced to rely entirely on hearsay. The main person who VICE News presented as an informant himself said that Jagdeo’s hands are clean. VICE News and their local sycophants have decided since the hearsay was weak, since their fake investors failed to bribe the VP, they will interpret his words to give some authenticity to their fake narrative.
They presented hearsay false claims that Vice President Bharat Jagdeo would change laws and the Constitution in order to facilitate investors who bribed him as fact. VICE News never considered for a moment that those claims were the kind of words uttered by conmen. Any credible investigative journalist or organisation would have sought corroboration by trying to identify at least one example of a law that was changed to accommodate any investor. The fact is that VICE News could not identify which constitutional amendment was made to enable and empower a particular investor. A genuine “exposé” would have tried, no matter how remotely, to link one or more legislative action that the Vice President tried to change in order to help an investor. There is a reason no such evidence was presented – there was none.
VICE News claimed that their informant had paperwork for many projects and that must be evidence of corruption. If this was a court of law, the whole thing would be thrown out immediately. Many persons have all sorts of paperwork related to various projects. The media has paperwork related to various projects all the time. The fact is that VICE News knew for sure that it had a non-story, but persisted to present a story based solely on hearsay and their own fake narrative that developing countries’ leaders are corrupt.
The modus operandi of con men and opportunistic persons of dropping names and arranging meetings for fees that they would normally represent as fees to enable them to “buy” off important decision makers is as old as history and prevalent everywhere, not just developing countries, but everywhere. VICE News’ focus is using this reality to bring disrepute to developing countries. In this case, Guyana is being used as an example of what happens in developing countries. There can be no doubt that the experienced VICE News crew knew very well that Su, their main informant, has represented himself as what he is not – that is a “bag” man for Guyanese senior officials. It is the reason they planted a fake investor to trap VP Jagdeo. What they, in fact, proved is that Jagdeo refused any hint of any kind of bribe and made it clear that his job is to facilitate any investor and any investment that is in the interest of the country. What was clear is that VICE News exposed a con man, nothing else. What is very true is that VICE News proved to the Guyanese people that the PPP General Secretary and the Vice President of Guyana has clean hands, as Su himself on camera confessed.
The much-anticipated VICE News show mischievously titled – Guyana for Sale – turned out to be nothing but affirmation that Guyana is not for sale, not under the Irfaan Ali-led PPP Government and that BJ is not part of any group giving away Guyana for personal benefits. Importantly, VICE News’ target, Bharat Jagdeo, Guyana’s Vice President, came out of the scrutiny to have “clean hands”. VICE News tried their best hatchet job, but essentially their piece turned out to be nothing but an admission that their digging, even with the most obnoxious use of hearsay and entrapment, unearthed nothing to even flimsily link corruption to Bharat Jagdeo and the PPP Government. This is the reason why VICE News had to cut their hoped-for hour-long show, as most of their exposés are, to a meagre 16-minutes. They came to bury Bharat Jagdeo, they ended with dirt in the face. It was sheer nothingness. It was shameful that they even aired their nothingness.
VICE News’ hatchet job insulted the Guyanese people and, on a larger scale, tried indicting developing countries under the general VICE News narrative that we are a developing country and, therefore, our leaders must be corrupt. VICE News has essentially built a reputation pushing the narrative that developing countries leaders are all corrupt.
The hatchet job on Bharat Jagdeo they had hoped to accomplish was part of the narrative that developing countries leaders simply cannot help themselves, that as long as there is an opportunity, they will be tempted into corruption with ease. They failed because they picked a man who has served his country for decades with distinction and has undergone the most intense scrutiny, without any evidence that he has been bribed by anyone. In fact, in this most recent attempt, VICE News affirmed that Bharat Jagdeo’s hands are clean. The PNC/APNU/AFC tired for five years, using all the machineries of the State and could not have found an iota of evidence to indict BJ. Now VICE News has joined the long list of those who have failed in linking BJ to any corruption.
The VP’s most ardent critics confess that the VICE News “exposé” proved nothing, but they, holding on to a straw like a drowning man, still believe that the Vice President has some answers to provide. They tested him, they posed as imposter businessmen and investors to Bharat Jagdeo. They entrapped Su and exposed him, but because BJ is not part of those who will sell Guyana, they could not entrap him. In the end, they had hearsays, many of which can be thrown into the garbage heap. That they could not cite any instance of corruption demonstrates unequivocally that VICE News tried a hatchet job and ended up with dirt in their faces.
Dr Leslie Ramsammy