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The Government continues to withhold the monthly grant from the International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly- Guyana (IDPADA-G) which was appropriated in the 2022 National Budget. $100 million has been granted to the Assembly for the year.
The grant was last received in August. But that was before Vice President (VP) Bharrat Jagdeo launched an attack on the character of leaders in the organisation, in what some saw as a premeditated act to justify withdrawing the grant.
On August 19, Jagdeo waved pages of those documents at a press conference accusing IDPADA-G of being a private company which received and misappropriated a government subvention of G$500,000,000 without any reference to the five-year period which the subvention spans.
He further specified the needs of the African community were not being addressed and Board Members of the organisation were the beneficiaries of the subvention at the expense of the African community. Two members were singled out, one of whom is the organisation’s chairman, Mr. Vincent Alexander.
Insinuating something sinister Jagdeo at his August 19 press conference said “find out how much of the money [IDPADA-G receives] goes to normal Afro-Guyanese.”
Alexander has since sued the VP after he refused to apologise for the comment. He is seeking damages in excess of $100,000,000 against the VP, who he said made the offensive and untruthful statement against him; and $50,000,000 against the Department of Public Information for broadcasting the information.
The organisation has denied acts of misusing the funds and presented a detailed account of its spending on August 22 at a press conference.
However, on August 31, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Mr. Charles Ramson Jr. wrote the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Olivia Sampson, demanding a “comprehensive audit” of the organisation, on the claim that “recent disclosures, publications, and public statements have provided the basis for the Ministry to have grave concerns which require closer examination by the Ministry.”
Ramson was advised, via letter dated September 2, that a comprehensive audit of IDPADA-G was conducted by the Central Internal Audit Unit of the Ministry of Finance, for the period January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2021. The organisation further said it “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.”
IDPADA-G received no response from the government and no grant for the months of September, October and November. The grant is usually disbursed at the beginning of the month.
At the organisation’s Annual General Meeting in October resolutions were passed that:-
“ Reiterated the rationale for the establishment of IDPADA-G; called on the Government to honour its obligation in keeping with the provisions of the Appropriation Law which provides for the funding of IDPADA-G; seeks the continuation of the funding of IDPADA-G onto the end of the Decade in demonstration of the State’s articulated commitment as exemplified by its support for the United Nations’ resolution, which declared the Decade and the attendant goals of recognition, justice and development for the People of African Descent, and the President Dr. Irfaan Ali ’s embrace of Reparations at the United Nations’ on the occasion of the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.
“Called upon President Dr. Ali to honour his verbal promises to meet with IDPADA-G as requested in writing on three occasions, two of which predated the public ridicule of IDPADA-G by the Vice-President Jagdeo and one subsequent to the onslaught. His statement at a public meeting in Mocha-Arcadia was however noted, since on that occasion he espoused direct contact with communities and individuals rather than their civil society or elected representatives.
“Resolved that IDPADA-G would take all necessary steps to encourage the government to disburse the subvention until the end of the Decade, as well as to ensure that IDPADA-G sustains its operations.”
One person told Village Voice he doubts the government would change its spiteful act and the denial of the grant is just another evidence of racial discrimination. “The government cannot keep denying the obvious.”
To learn more about the IDPADA-G visit https://www.facebook.com/IDPADAG