Oct 04, 2022 News
– organisation forced to send home staff, assessing ability to function in absence of subvention
Kaieteur News – After being denied funds for its operations for the first time since its inception in 2017, the International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly-Guyana (IDPADA-G) is currently assessing its options as it seeks to continue its functions without the financial support of the Government.
The Kaieteur News understands that the IDPADA-G, which was formed to answer the call of the United Nations under the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015 to 2024), has not received any funding from the Government since the start of the month.
As such, Chairman of the organisation, Vincent Alexander said that the group is reviewing its options to the current changes. Alexander told the newspaper that since the organization responded to the request for information by Government, “there has been no further communication.” He said that the funds that support IDPADA-G’s operations were due at the beginning of the month, and October is now due. The Chairman said that the organisation is currently keeping its operations on stream, but is watching its overheads. When asked what may be causing the delay in the release of the organisation’s funds, Alexander said he does not see the issue as a delay but rather a “non-disbursement” of funds. Alexander noted however that the operation of the secretariat at this time is to assess its response to the immediate challenge of funding.
Kaieteur News was so far, unable to solicit a comment from the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sports as to the reason for the non-release of funds to the non-profit organisation. The Culture Ministry in August, wrote the IDPADA-G seeking its financial documents just weeks after Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo had accused the organisation of misusing the funds given.
The Vice President, during a press conference at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, was at the time addressing claims which he said IDPADA-G made that the People’s Progressive Party government has been practicing discrimination against Afro –Guyanese in relation to funding. He said that “The cause is to shout as much as possible about discrimination so that they can draw the benefits in.” He thus urged the organisation to tell the truth about what it did with the monies received as he accused, “this group of individuals” as failing Afro-Guyanese, “but they are living the good life…”
In response, Alexander said the organisation’s CEO, Oliver Sampson, as well as other stakeholders made it clear during a Press Conference that Jagdeo was being disingenuous about his comments when he accused the organisation for state scrutiny. Alexander said that the organisation had submitted its financials to the Government since the previous year, since they had requested an audit of the organisation. Alexander said that the Government auditors had since been in touch with the organisation and was back at the location in January of this year as they continued to look into the organisation’s finances. He said that “one comprehensive audit for the period” 2018-2021 was done and that information was made available to the state.
Alexander had said too that Vice President Jagdeo on the day of his Press Conference had sought information from the organisation and it was those said documents that he used to make the accusations against the body. Sampson had also provided a rundown of the work IDPADA-G had done with the $500m which the organisation had received over the years. One of the main accusations was that a large portion of the organizations funds were going into the payment of staff, which Jagdeo insinuated was one of the ways the money was being stolen. To that, the organisation had made the point that its staffers were at the disposal of the communities as among their tasks, they craft business plans, projects and grant request proposals for government and donor funding.
The IDPADA-G said that it requested an additional $58m from the Government to offer grants to Afro-Guyanese in both 2020 and 2021 but was refused.
The Culture Ministry had said however that in light of the allegations of misuse of funds by the organisation, it was requesting their financials for scrutiny. Those documents were delivered to the Ministry and Alexander had demanded that the Vice President issue an apology for the statements made. Jagdeo nonetheless refused and said that he was sticking with his claims. Apart from being at IDPADA-G, Alexander is also a Commissioner on the Guyana Elections Commission representing the Opposition parties.
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