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The International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly – Guyana (IDPADA-G) at its press conference Monday addressed a plethora of issues, including its ability to continue to serve the society consistent with the principles outlined in the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent.
The Government last year withdrew the subvention which came after allegations by Vice President (VP) Bharrat Jagdeo the leaders of the organisation are enriching themselves at the people’s expense. IDPADA-G leaders held a press conference post, debunking the accusation by providing a detailed breakdown of spending, which was also audited by the Government of Guyana.
IDPADA-G has since taken the government to court, requesting the court direct the government to release the funding given that it was passed into law via the Appropriation Act in the 2022 Budget. Acting Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire SC has since suggested the parties pursue mediation.
Touching on the issue of funding, the organisation said the withdrawal of the subvention has significantly hindered its capability to do its work. It’s also now using less staff and relying on contributions (cash and kind) from public spirited citizens and organisations.
Addressing the no-show of Black Panther star, Guyanese Letitia Wright, to an invitation, the organisation said whilst scores have turned up to meet the star, including children, and they were all disappointed “they move on.”
Read the full text below:-
IDPADA-G held a press conference this morning [Monday February 6, 2023] to keep the public and Guyanese of African Descent, in particular, abreast of developments pertaining to the organisation. IDPADA-G wished the public to be aware that:
- Closing our operation is not an option. We have kept our doors open, albeit with reduced staff. This includes the retention of the CEO as a volunteer. We have survived on the contributions of donors, who prefer to remain anonymous. We are grateful to all who have supported our efforts.
Given reduced funding, we have revised our priorities to include greater focus on policy issues affecting people of African Descent.
We must again stress that with a larger staff we provided a range of services to the community. As the case with any service provider, human resources are a key input for service delivery. For example, staff organising and managing training programs or our Ujamaa Exhibition and Sale for
small businesses are providing a service to the community. The same can be said of the staff who implement activities related to the Credit Union.
- Contrary to the misinformation being presented, IDPADA-G was never established with the sole purpose of providing grants to organisations. We have continued to provide service to the African Guyanese community and any other who may have an interest in the programme of activities for the Decade. In that regard, we feel vindicated when the Minister of Infrastructure undertook to provide training for small contractors in the preparation of tender documents.
We have done that training repeatedly and it resulted in more than 77 graduates. This, in addition to other forms of capacity building to empower the African Guyanese community over our years of operation. We have led in the sphere of empowerment of the African Guyanese community.
- In regard to IDPADA-G, Government’s official focus has been financial accountability although we have provided all of our audited transactions/ documents from 2018 to 2021 based on our Parliamentary approved budget. It is worth reiterating that the audit conducted by the Ministry of Finance in 2021 found no basis for withholding the subvention.
- While focusing on documents, government has avoided any conversation with IDPADAG. Although since the last quarter of 2021 we requested a meeting with the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport and have since written to the President and pursued a meeting with him three times in 2022. More recently, in service to the people of Mocha Arcadia we wrote the Minister of Housing seeking an engagement. To date, we have not received an acknowledgement. Since the first hearing of the court case and as a follow-up to the ag Chief Justice George’s suggestion that the parties pursued mediation, we decided to initiate another request for engagement.
However, meanwhile, we have noted some Ministers continued public assertions which are adversarial and confrontational. While we have not had the opportunity to engage with the Minister of Housing on the tragic situation in Mocha Arcadia, we have however sought to raise funds to render assistance to the dislocated families as they attempt to bring some order to the destruction of their lives and livelihoods.
So far, we have received a total of G$110,000 in cash donations from concerned persons locally as well as immeasurable contributions of in-kind support. Donations from the diaspora are now at US$3,053.00; US$2,050 donated by a Guyanese American who had launched a separate GoFundMe site and US$1003.00 raised from the IDPADA-G Facebook page and other diaspora donors. We will continue to work with the people of Mocha Arcadia.
- Finally, like our guests, last Wednesday, 1 February, we were disappointed that Letitia Wright did not join us as planned. We regret that so many children and youth were let down. The note sent informing us that she would not be able to attend did not provide an explanation. But we move on.
To know more about IDPADA-G and how you could support visit https://www.facebook.com/IDPADAG