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|Three weeks after Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Mr. Charles Ramson Jr, wrote the International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly – Guyana (IDPADA-G), requesting their financial record from 2018 to present, he has gone mum.
The minister in his letter dated August 31 claimed that “The recent disclosures, publications, and public statements have provided the basis for the Ministry to have grave concerns which require closer examination by the Ministry” His letter was addressed to Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ms. Olive Sampson, who on September 2, in her response to the minister informed “a comprehensive audit of our organisation was conducted by the Central Internal Audit Unit of the Ministry of Finance, for the period January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2021.”
The minister was further advised, the audit “investigated receipts and disbursement of funds by IDPADA-G, it fully investigated the ‘concerns’ raised in your request to us” and “provided guidance on minor changes to internal processes that have since been implemented.”
Despite the audit was done by the government, and a copy of the report would have been in government’s possession, the CEO nonetheless submitted, along with her letter, a copy of the audit report.
The CEO also made known that although the 2022 fiscal year is not over, hence an audit not done, the organisation “stands ready to engage the appropriate government agency to mutually agree on such an independent auditor and the necessary terms of reference for the period January 1, 2022 to the present.”
The minister is still to respond to the IDPADA-G in spite of the organisation making known they look forward to meaningful engagement that would assuage his concerns.
Leader of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic, Vice President (VP) Bharrat Jagdeo had first accused IDPADA-G leaders of the organisation of misusing money given by the government. Lashing out at them at his press conference on August 19, Jagdeo referred to them as “parasites using Afro-Guyanese just for their own benefit.”
Responding to the VP’s accusation, in a press conference on 22 August, without exception, the leaders stated they were never and aren’t paid for the services they provide to IDPADA-G. It was also pointed out the organisation is staffed by a secretariat whose workers are paid the equivalent to those in the public service. Further, a fact sheet accounting for the less than half-a-billion dollars received from the state in the last 5 years and projects executed were presented for public consumption.
For more on IDPADA-G refer https://www.facebook.com/IDPADAG
One of the leaders, Mr. Vincent Alexander has since sent Jagdeo a lawyer’s letter. Through his attorney-at-law, Mr. Eusi Anderson, Alexander was demanding a public apology and unconditional retraction of the VP’s statements and a financial sum by 3 September as compensation for the defamation of his character, failing which legal action will be triggered.