Kaieteur News – The decision taken by the Government of Guyana to distribute monies to some 55 Afro-Guyanese organisations has no bearings on the court case in which the International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly – Guyana (IDPADA-G) is challenging the State over its decision to withhold over $100 million worth in subvention from the organisation.
This is the view of Chairman of the IDPADA-G, Vincent Alexander. Alexander told media operatives at a news conference on Tuesday that the organisation will await the decision of the court. The Attorney General (AG), Anil Nandlall announced on Friday that the Government will be disbursing the 2023 subvention to 55 organisations representing Afro-Guyanese across the country. The AG’s decision came hours after the High Court took a decision on Friday to hear, the case filed by IDPADA-G against the State, over the withholding of the group’s subvention.
Minister Nandlall said the organisations are the founding members of IDPADA-G and the funds are intended to support the objectives of the decade. However, in his statement to the press, Alexander emphasised that IDPADA-G does not view the government’s offer as a subvention but rather as a “grant” to be given to the 55 organisations.
He explained: “Our position is that, what the Government is doing is not giving the subvention to organisations; it’s giving them cash grants. The question of the subvention is still a matter before the court and unlike what has been in the public domain, the motion that we have filed in the court does not address 2022, it addresses the entire period unto 2024. So, the matter of the subvention is still a contentious matter.”
Alexander noted too that although none of the 55 organisations has been asked to refuse the monies being offered, there are three of the Afro-Guyanese organisations represented on the Council that will not accept the grant. “When our coordinating council met, there were members of the council who took that position, that they will not be recipients of handouts, and that was unsolicited,” Mr. Alexander said. He continued that: “it is for them to decide as individual organisations whether they will take a cash grant from government. We will not be prodding them one way or the other. We will, however, be making it clear to them that what they are being offered has nothing to do with the subvention.”
Also responding to queries about the proposed disbursement, attorney for IDPADA-G, Dr. Vivian Williams made a distinction between the issues. “What is before the court is a specific transaction between parties; the parties being IDPADA-G and the other named parties that are respondents to the case…There is nothing that is before the court that says one of the parties before the court can’t engage in any other similar transaction like any other number of other parties,” he said.
The work of IDPADA-G takes place within the framework of the United Nations Resolution. Alexander said government’s move to distribute “grants” to individual organisations and juxtapose that to a subvention to IDPADA-G was to “interfere with the Country Coordinating Mechanism which is a cumulative response” to the United Nations Declaration of the Decade for People of African Descent.
“There are disadvantages to an approach which seeks to divide the community rather than an approach that speaks to the collective community even as the individual organisations are allowed to pursue their own mandates,” he said.
He noted that IDPADA-G, has among other things set up an efficient office with transparent and accountable management systems, developed a strategic plan, and notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic executed several projects. Apart from the issue of funding, Alexander said the Government has misconstrued the initial intent and vision of IDPADA-G.
The IDPADA-G chairman has accused President Irfaan Ali of failing in his repeated promises to meet with that organisation, seemingly in line with his position at Mocha-Arcadia that he would meet with the people directly rather than their representatives. “In our role as Country Coordinating Mechanism for the Decade, in July 2022, we wrote to the President seeking a meeting to discuss issues of concern to the African community. No response. After two in-person reminders directly to the President during chance meetings, resending the original letter at the request of his office and a second note from the IDPADA-G’s Chair, we have not had even the courtesy of a response. This, in addition to the withdrawal of the subvention and the denial of the use of taxpayer funded public space for our Black History Month community forum on issues of land ownership affecting African Guyanese – – are unmistakable signs of contempt,” Mr. Alexander said.
Pres. Ali putting water meters on the citizens in Berbice, and not meters on Exxon oil pumps.
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