The now much talked about 15-minute video, which can only be described as an attempted takedown of Guyana by VICE News, is riddled with lies. But for the purpose of this letter, I wish to deal with the subject of the Amaila Falls Hydro project.
Editor, I have now seen both the 15-minute piece and the full video of the interview of Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo by the VICE News reporter that was almost two hours long. In the full interview, when the issue of Amaila Falls Hydro project came up, the reporter was told about the project, in-depth.
Jagdeo, in the February 2022 interview said: “Amaila was developed through a subsidiary of Blackstone. They went out to public tender. This was when I was President. They selected a number of people, the Chinese company to build the hydro. Then I left the office. It continued. The last Government stopped the project. When they came into office, Norway was putting $100 million into the project. The project had been approved at the IDB Board – the Inter-American Development Bank Board.
Then we urged because the last Government was saying there was corruption, so we asked the last Government in Norway to do an assessment. You can check the assessment done by Norway. Norway said this is the best project to decarbonise the energy sector, the hydro project. So we made it clear in Opposition that there is no way we can achieve our emission targets globally if we don’t go with hydro as part of the baseload.
So when we got back to the office, we retendered the project. We retendered the project. Now by that time this company that won the bid, in an open process, won the bid – the lowest price financing – they had acquired from Blackstone, historically, the material, all the drawings etc. So I suspect that is what helped them to put in a better bid. But this was the lowest of the evaluated bids.” The VICE News reporter, demonstrating ignorance of the tender procedures in Guyana, was also told clearly that there was no closed process with the Amaila Falls Hydro project.
Still in the 15-minute video, the VICE News reporter, on the subject of the Amaila Falls Hydro project, said: “Even now, in this very, very remote area. You can see the Chinese influence. This is where they’re building a massive hydroelectric power plant 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 basics of journalism and reporting are ignored and replaced by a barefaced lie. There is no sugar coating on this. It was a lie in the face of facts and in the face of a detailed explanation of the history and current position of the Amaila Falls Hydro project.
Still, despite the lies, I cannot help but notice those who would jump on the bandwagon just for the sake of having company in their criticisms of the current Government. People have a right to criticise yes, but with facts, not lies, and not at the expense of our country. We should not allow these foreign personalities to succeed in painting our nation as a backwater country with lies.
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