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The International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly- Guyana (IDPADA-G) came out firing against what the organisation deemed “another attempt [by Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo] to discredit IDPADA-G and vilify its leadership.”
Last Friday, in action that has since attracted the ridicule of many, the Vice President (VP) accused leaders of IDPADA-G of deriving personal financial gains from the less than half-a-billion dollars the organisation received as grant from the Government of Guyana within a five-year period. Sections of society pointed out the sum given to IDPADA-G over five years is miniscule compared to what non-African organisations and businesses get from the government in various forms such as flood reliefs, cash grants, tax concessions, contracts, among others.
Albeit a response to the VP came three days later, the organisation presented a spirited fight back against the “VP Jagdeo mischievous crusade of misinformation, lies and defamation,” as they made known they were there “to expose him and his mal-intent.”
Without exception, the leaders pointed out they were never and aren’t paid for the services they provide, contrary to Jagdeo’s accusation. It was an accusation made without providing evidence, in as much as the VP issued a statement shortly after IDPADA-G’s press conference on Monday, failing to provide any evidence to prove his accusations, but hastened to create new ones.
IDPADA-G pointed out it is a not-for-profit company, whose directors were the executive members at the time of the founding of the company and are volunteers. This countered the accusation that leaders are personally enriching themselves by the grant. A grant, some remind, is the taxpayers’ money, which also includes African Guyanese, and not the People’s Progressive Party/Civic’s government’s money as the VP stated in his press conference last Friday.
The organisation made known it is a professional outfit, manned by a secretariat whose staff is paid the equivalent to workers in the public service. Vincent Alexander, one of the leaders, explained that the staff also provide technical support to the public who are beneficiaries of grants and in areas such as research, among others. “Members of the public can also walk-in and be given services such as the preparation of business plans, project and grant request proposals for government and donor funding,” said the organisation.
Where the VP sought to convey the impression the staff”s “annual salary of approximately G$42M for 2020 was paid to them in the circumstance where all that they were doing was disbursing to the African Guyanese community $343,000.00 in grants” he was accused of “pull [ing] off his biggest three card trick on the Guyanese public.”
According to organisation, “to suggest that of a subvention of G$100M in 2020, the [African] community was merely the beneficiaries of grants to the tune of $343,000.00 is either malicious or gross incompetence in relation to the understanding of the financial situation of IDPADA-G, although the relevant financial documents were requested and obtained from IDPADA-G on the morning of Mr. Jagdeo’s press conference.” The VP was chided for the government being in receipt of information from the organisation on its spending, via documentation, “only for them to be misused by” him.
IDPADA-G wants it to be known that “Every cent of subvention or other revenue is spent in service to the African Guyanese community, indirectly as in the case of salaries or directly through programmes, projects, engagements, and financial assistance.”
The Mission of IDPADA-G is to:
1) Advocate at the national level for policies and programmes that advance the interests and condition of Guyanese of African Descent in the five Response Areas of Economy, Employment, Education, Equity/Equality and Expiation.
2) Provide guidance and support to member organisations for developing and undertaking projects that respond to the needs of Guyanese of African Descent.
3) Provide capacity building and organisational support to member organisations and the wider African Guyanese community
For more on the work of this organisation visit https://www.facebook.com/IDPADAG/