‘A DAMP SQUIB’
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Attorney General Anil Nandlall during his weekly Facebook programme ‘Issues in the News,’ on Tuesday
Attorney General Anil Nandlall during his weekly Facebook programme ‘Issues in the News,’ on Tuesday

… ‘Don’t jump to conclusions,’ AG says of VICE Media report

DESPITE United States-based VICE Media failing to link Vice-President Bharrat Jagdeo to corruption allegations, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, S.C. said on Tuesday that the interview is being used as a political tool by the parliamentary opposition to spread misinformation.

During his recent ‘Issues in the News’ programme streamed on Facebook, AG Nandlall chided the innuendos and gossip emanating from a report by VICE Media’s current affairs arm, VICE News, and the opposition following the release of a controversial video report called, “Guyana For Sale.”

“This entire attempt to create a scandal out of this story is simply a damp squib. It’s nothing more than that. And who keeps stirring the pot? Who’s trying to blow it out of proportion? The usual suspects,” the Attorney General said.

Since the publication of the report, Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton has called for the Vice- President to demit office. AG Nandlall regards this position as both empty and meritless.

“So, this guy wants Mr Jagdeo to be fired simply because someone has made an allegation… he wants Mr Jagdeo to be dismissed even before the inquiry starts.

“… He has assumed the existence of guilt long before the inquiry has commenced, and that is the type of thought process that affects Mr Norton in almost every endeavour. There is no clarity of thought and there is no logic and reasoning process,” Nandlall said.

The Attorney General opined that persons should be a little more “mature” and cautious before “jumping to conclusions.”

“But it all has to do with this bunch of politicians [who] really have nothing going for them for the longest while. So, this new story has presented them with an oasis in the desert. That’s what’s happening here,” he added.

Noting that the political opposition has been “milking” the interview and portraying a false narrative to fit their own intentions, AG Nandlall also questioned why VICE Media used only soundbites of the Vice-President’s comments made during the engagement in his home.

In the interest of transparency, Nandlall challenged VICE Media to air the full interview conducted without the Vice-President’s knowledge.

“In fact, I think that Mr Jagdeo did very well, especially not knowing that he was being recorded,” Nandlall said. “Remember,” he continued, “it’s only about two minutes on that tape of what transpired in that conversation in Mr Jagdeo house.”

To the AG’s knowledge, the VICE News team spent over 20 minutes at the VP’s home, but only two minutes of that interview was included in the final product of a mere 15 minutes.

“What they were able to extract, obviously, would have been the high point of the alleged controversy. In other words, what you heard there is the ‘creme de la creme’ of what was said.

AG Nandlall bemoaned that despite VICE News extracting what they felt was the worst possible thing that could have been said, there was nothing of substance.

Pre-determined Agenda

Against this backdrop, Nandall said that the VICE News team came to Guyana with a view to doing a story on corruption in government with their own “pre-determined agenda.”

“They seem to have led Su to believe that they are business people and they want to invest in Guyana. And Su may have disclosed to them that he has some association with the Vice- President,” Nandlall detailed on his programme.

Nandlall said he is uncertain what Su told the news team, but it is apparent that the journalists, under false pretence, posed as members of the Chinese business community to entrap the Vice-President.

He also said it is likely that the international media house intended to show there was corruption between Guyana and China.

“They want to make that connection and they set out even from the inception to pursue that objective. And they seem to also be influenced negatively by the fact that it’s wrong for the government of Guyana to be trading with China,” the Minister of Legal Affairs said.

He affirmed that Guyana as a sovereign nation enjoys good bipartisan and trade relations with many countries in the world.

“We have great trade relations with our counterparts in the Caribbean…We don’t want to have favourite relations; we treat countries depending upon the investment opportunities and how Guyanese and Guyana will benefit from those opportunities. That is how we assess our relations with our developmental partners,” Nandlall stated.
The AG said that the Dr Irfaan Ali-led People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government is strong in its position that whatever opportunities are offered by different countries, Guyanese and Guyana will benefit.

The Attorney General contended that Dr Jagdeo in his most “unguarded moment” clearly said to the undercover news team that he doesn’t get involved in the details of business arrangements.

To this end, Nandlall said that the VP, upon learning about the covert operations of the news team, plans to take legal action.

The Attorney General said the PPP/C is committed to the development of Guyana, especially when it comes to helping citizens, local or abroad.

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