$500M increase in budget 2017 for Guyana contributions to int’l organisations

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 December 2016, 17:05 by Derwayne Wills

Guyana’s contribution to international organisations has increased by some $500M in the 2017 budgeted estimates for the Foreign Ministry.

The increase raised some questions from Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira today in the Supply Committee of the National Assembly.

Teixeira noted the increases were for this country’s payments to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, CARICOM Competition Commission, CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security.

The most notable increase was a $427M for the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).

The increases, according to Foreign Minister Greenidge, “reflect negotiations between government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and external agencies for clearing arrears… we have a number of arrears for agencies including the Islamic Conference.”

Minister Greenidge said Guyana’s total arrears to international organisations stands at some US$219,000 at an exchange rate of GY$210 to US$1.

On the increase of contributions to the local UN office from $12M to $16M, Minister Greenidge said Guyana owed some US$219,000

For CDEMA, Guyana had owed some EC$407,587 accumulated from 2012, while the assessed contribution for 2017 is EC$133,000, Greenidge told the House.

The Opposition Chief Whip red-flagged separate allocations made by the Public Infrastructure  and Foreign Ministries, prompting Minister Greenidge to respond that he is unaware of such an arrangement.

“I am not aware, and I hadn’t noticed that an assessment and provision was made by two agencies. Normally, Foreign Affairs makes the payment,” Greenidge said.

Continuing on contributions to the OAS, Minister Greenidge was asked to justify the reduction of contributions to the body from $4.4M to $3.8M, to which he responded the monies provided was directly requested by the OAS as contribution.

Teixeira was perplexed as to why Guyana was moving to pay off these debts considering there are countries with larger economies which are also indebted to international agencies.

Minister Greenidge said clearing the debts was necessary because “when critical decisions need to be made, and you are cited as a member that is not financially current, you have implications.”

“The primary struggle we have,” he continued, “is a struggle to keep current in these institutions so that our voices can be heard especially on the political front where we need allies.”