Please see full press release by SphereX’s Director, Joel Bhagwandin in response to comments made about its review and subsequent report on the International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly – Guyana (IDPADA-G)’s Strategic Plan.

Our attention was drawn to a press conference conducted by IDPADA-G’s Chairperson, Mr. Vincent Alexander on July 14th, 2023. The press conference focused exclusively on a report prepared by SphereX’ s Director of Analytics, Joel Bhagwandin, which was a critical review of IPADA-G’s strategic plan.


We wish to state categorically that this report was not sponsored by the Government of Guyana as Mr. Alexander insinuated. It was an exercise done voluntarily, and, of our own accord (i.e., NOT a pro-bono request of the Government) ―with the aim of understanding the fundamental issues between IPADA-G and the Government of Guyana and proposed a number of suggestions on the way forward.


Given the contentious and more so sensitive nature of the subject matter, the report was deliberately not placed within the public domain. It was only circulated to the stakeholders involved―namely, IPADA-G, members of the Political Opposition, and the Government of Guyana, for them to consider the findings and recommendations of the report.


With this in mind, since IPADA-G sought to dedicate an exclusive press conference on our work, it would be remiss of us not to address the press conference accordingly. To this end, we have also taken note of the manner in which the report was “nit-picked” by Mr. Alexander in his failed attempt to discredit and/or reject the contents of the report, while at the same time, acknowledging, in response to a question from a reporter, that the report was extensive―in contrast to the official report submitted to the United Nations by the Government of Guyana.

In order to move forward, it is important for the public to understand the merits of the concerns by both parties―namely, the Government and IPADA-G in the context of Resolution number 69/16 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on November 18th, 2014.

The key findings of our report―having examined the governance structure, the activities of IPADA-G, and the organization’s strategic plan―together with the Resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly in respect of the International Decade for the People of African Descent, and the objectives and activities set out by the United Nations, are as follows:

In accordance with the Resolutions of the United Nations, the State has a major role to play in driving the work.

Instead, in the case of Guyana, a non-profit company was incorporated, and the work of the organization was carried out with almost no substantive involvement on the part of the State save and except for the annual subvention from the National Budget. Therefore, the governance structure adopted is arguably a divergence from the intended model contemplated by the United Nations.

It was noted, as well, that each member State that participated in the programme is required to submit an annual progress report to the United Nations. The report covers an update on the progress made in the implementation of the activities set out in the Resolutions and the achievements in line with the objectives for the International Decade. To this end, a perusal of the consolidated reports submitted to the United Nations confirmed that no such report was ever submitted for Guyana. Thus, this is another deviation from the spirit, intent, and objectives of the United Nations for this programme.

The principal objectives pursuant to the resolution of the United Nations are:

a) To strengthen national, regional, and international action and cooperation in relation to the full enjoyment of economic, social, civil, and political rights by people of African descent and their full and equal participation in all aspects of society;

b) To promote a greater knowledge of and respect for the diverse heritage, culture, and contribution of people of African descent to the development of societies;

c) To adopt and strengthen national, regional, and international legal frameworks in accordance with the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and the International Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, and to ensure their full and effective implementation.

More importantly, the State should take concrete and practical steps through the adoption and effective implementation of national and international legal frameworks, policies, and programmes to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance faced by people of African descent. Conversely, in the case of Guyana, IPADA-G’s mission was reduced to a mere advocacy body, which is a stark departure from the programme activities and objectives for the International Decade for People of African Descent.

Public Financial Accountability

In view of the foregoing findings, we are of the view that the problem IPADA-G now has with the Government in relation to Government subventions, is not one of its own making. Rather, we believe that the principals of IPADA-G were ill advised or not advised at all by the previous Government, particularly, the former minister of finance.

The principals of IPADA-G need to appreciate that if they are going be the recipients of subventions from the National Budget to execute the goals of the International Decade, it has to be done within a framework that conforms to, and in compliance with the public financial laws of Guyana―that is, the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act 2003 (FMAA Act). In its current form, it does not comply with the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act, and its modality of operations does not conform to the spirit of the Act.

In order to do so, the operations of IPADA-G ought to have been the subject of Parliamentary scrutiny, whereby annual reports are prepared and submitted to the National Assembly. Since IPADA-G’s formation, there is no record of any such reporting done to its stakeholders, much less to the Government of Guyana, and the National Assembly, other than a few newsletters.

In closing, we would like to invite the media to conduct their own independent review of the facts surrounding this issue and hope that it is adequately reported on.


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