Dear Editor,

As the International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly – Guyana (IDPADA-G) awaits the Judge’s ruling on its Fixed Date Application for the Government to reinstate the subvention, it behooves IDPADA-G to make clear to the public all that is central to its contention – beyond the litigation and whatever might be the ruling. These perspectives are as follows:

1. IDPADA-G is a not-for–profit company/organization which brings together over 65 African Guyanese organisations as the Coordinating Mechanism to pursue the Goals of the UN Decade for People of African Descent.

2. Those organizations are the members of IDPADA-G and constitute the Assembly, which is its highest forum and decision-making body, according to its Charter agreed by all in 2017. We have observed the attempt by some to juxtapose IDPADA-G as a company (IDPADA-G Inc.) to the formation (IDPADA-G) that predated the Company. For the record, after seeking legal advice regarding the registration of the organization, we were guided to register as a not-for profit company. This, with the blessing of the Coordinating Council and the full membership, including the original architects of the organization and drafters of its Charter. The fact of the matter is that the company gives legal standing to the original entity that was created and is otherwise in no way different from the original body. The membership, structures, and operations of IDPADA-G as a company are the same as those provided for in its original mutually adopted Charter.

3. IDPADA-G has, without fail, submitted all financial reports and budgets requested by the Government. Annual audits by an external audit company are also completed as required. In December 2021 the Special Unit of the Ministry of Finance conducted an Investigative Audit to account for the utilization of the subvention received by IDPADA-G. That audit gave IDPADA-G a clean bill of health.

4. In August 2022 IDPADA-G facilitated an advertisement of Cuffy 250’s Forum on “the Emerging Apartheid State”. This was not unusual, since IDPADA-G regularly advertises members’ events. Immediately on the publication of that advertisement, the Government of Guyana, via the public media, accused IDPADA-G and some of its officials of misuse and misappropriation of its funds. Evidence has not and cannot be provided to that effect. In fact, the Government’s audit exonerates the organization and its officials of such wrong doing. The Government has however fabricated a sliding scale of fictitious accusations to continue its onslaught on the work of IDPADA-G.

5. The latest accusation is that there are complainants from the African Guyanese community, who as intended beneficiaries of IDPADA-G’s funding, have not been recipients of funds, and that too much of IDPADA-G’s subvention has been expended on the staffing of its secretariat. Of 65 member organizations the Government pins its contention on the alleged complaints of four organisations. Government never engaged IDPADA-G to seek its response to those alleged complaints. Ironically, one of the alleged complainants is the largest recipient of a disbursement from IDPADA-G for the execution of a project.

6. To be clear, IDPADA-G was never established to be a source of grants – rather it was established to be a service provider offering training, capacity building and advocacy on behalf of the African Guyanese community. Our original proposal to government in 2017 and the 2019 Strategic Plan to which all members contributed, and which was approved at IDPADA-G’s General Assembly in 2019 clearly state the role of IDPADA-G to:

a. Advocate at the national level for policies and programmes that advance the interests and condition of Guyanese of African Descent.

b. Provide guidance and support to member organizations for developing and undertaking projects that respond to the needs of Guyanese of African Descent;

c. Provide capacity building and organizational support to member organizations;

d. Implement demonstration projects by the Secretariat that can be replicated by member
organizations; and

e. Provide leadership, coordination, monitoring and reporting on the achievements of the Decade in Guyana.

7. Our annual budget request and our monthly subvention disbursement requests were all aligned with the Strategic Plan and clearly established the intended use of funds and advocacy.

8. To provide services, IDPADA-G is required to be adequately staffed. Our overhead costs, as we provide services and as an advocate on behalf of the community, cannot be fairly assessed simplistically on the ratio of subvention spent on staff to expenditure for projects or disbursements to beneficiaries.
IDPADA-G project officers, who comprised the majority of the staff, made possible the delivery of services to the community. Salary expenditures for their work are not attributed to specific projects in accounting terms. For example, IDPADA-G organized three exhibitions and sales benefiting over 150 vendors in 2021 and 2022. Our financial records for those events attribute the rental of tents and other material goods or services to those activities but the cost of the staff’s effort to design, plan and implement the event are not accounted for in the same way. The cost of mobilizing the vendors, organizing training programmes for them, preparing the site and managing the event are not attributed, in accounting terms, to the activity. Salaries were accounted for under a separate heading and were not disaggregated by projects and programmes. Hence, the actual cost of the programmes and projects did not include the labour cost. It is therefore disingenuous for the government to state that IDPADA-G’s salaries expense is unrelated to the delivery of goods and services to the African Guyanese communities.
A simple conversation with IDPADA-G would have given clarity to this misrepresentation. However, the Government preferred to snipe at IDPADA-G rather than engage the organization for clarity.

9. IDPADA-G prior to, and after, the government’s initial accusations, the filing of its court action, and during the period provided for mediation, sought to engage with other Ministers such as the Minister responsible for Finance and the subject Minister for Culture, Youth and Sport, to provide clarity on the accusations raised by the Government in the media – all to no avail. Repeated formal requests and reminders were also sent to President Ali but he has never honoured his verbal promises to meet.

One can only conclude that the reasons proffered by the Government for the cessation of the subvention are but a ruse to veil its real motive. The real motive can be discerned from the statements made by officials, such as Vice President Jagdeo’s early contention that IDPADA-G was ungrateful to a Government that was funding it. That was his contention when he accused IDPADA-G of being the author of the Cuffy 250 conference theme: Resisting the Emerging Apartheid State. IDPADA-G remains committed to supporting the initiatives of its member organisations to meet the goals of the Decade… Recognition, Justice, and Development

Yours faithfully,

Chairperson IDPADA-G

Vincent Alexander


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