VICE News used Guyana to pursue its geopolitical agenda

Dear Editor,
An anti-China line fuelled the geopolitical agenda that was the focus of the controversial VICE News’ publication, which was aired on Showtime on Sunday, 19th June 2022.
VICE News reporter Isobel Yeung frames her ‘Guyana for Sale’ video by saying: “As China expands into South America, the US (United States of America) sees their (its) growing presence as a threat. This is a Region where America has long held political and regional dominance.”
Inserts of comments by US President Joe Biden, saying, “China has an overall goal to become the wealthiest country in the world and the most powerful country in the world. That’s not going to happen on my watch”, and China’s influence via its Belt and Road Initiative was also given prominence in the publication. However, VICE News’ agenda was clearly not factually based or substantiated.
First, Isobel Yeung made claims that China approved a $1.5B loan to Guyana. The fact is that, in examining the last three national budgets, 2020 to 2022, Guyana has not borrowed a $1.5B loan from China.
Secondly, Yeung, in referring to the planned Amaila Falls Hydropower Project, said: “This is where they’re building a massive hydroelectric power plant (and) the Chinese state-backed Corporation has just won the bid to pick up that project, and that deal is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. And what we’ve heard is that the only reason they won that project is because of a very sizable bribe.”
The fact is that a deal for the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) has not been awarded by the Government of Guyana.
The Government was in negotiation with China Railway Group Limited for the completion of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Plant based on a Build, Own, Operate, and Transfer (BOOT) model. Requests for proposals (RFPs) to develop the AFHP, either on the basis of a 20-year Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) concession or on a Design-Build-Finance (DBF) basis were invited in 2021.
A total of four companies submitted proposals. China Railway Group Limited was identified as the most ‘capable partner’ by the Evaluation Committee, after a rigorous evaluation process, following which the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) submitted the relevant recommendation to Cabinet for ‘no objection.’
Under the BOOT model, the company will supply electricity to Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc. at a cost averaging US$0.07737 per KWH over the 20-year BOOT period. However, the China Railway Group Limited indicated that the BOOT model was not feasible, so negotiations ended. Now the Government is considering going back out to tender for the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project.
Thirdly, Isobel Yeung attempted to link firms working in Guyana to the Chinese “Communist” Party, and said, “It does imply very much that the Beijing authorities know exactly what’s going on.” The fact is that Guyana formally established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China on June 27, 1972 under the leadership of former President the late Arthur Chung.
It is unfortunate that VICE News saw it fit to only use Guyana to pursue their geopolitical agenda in face of our country’s regional leadership on issues like food security and our country’s international leadership on issues like the plan to allow developing countries to transition to a low carbon economy – that is the Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030.

Respectfully yours,
Brian Azore