State-funded Afro-Guyanese organisation refused more money

Last Updated on Monday, 22 August 2022, 15:21 by Denis Chabrol

The International Decade for People of African Descent- Guyana (IDPADA-G) on Monday debunked suggestions by Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo that the Board of Directors has personally received monies from the almost GY$500 million allocated by the government.

Already, according to IPADA-G, the government has turned down its formal requests for $58 million in 2020 and 2021 to provide grants. “We were advised that that request would not be honoured and, therefore, we have not gotten the specific money for grant purposes.”

Though not a grant agency, Chief Executive Officer Olive Sampson said IDPADA-G has injected some funds into the Mocha Market Day and the CSEC Night Schools among other projects.

Chairman of IDPADA-G Vincent Alexander again registered his objection to Mr Jagdeo insinuating that he has received GY$100 million from the State’s coffers but none has reached to Afro-Guyanese.

He said IDPADA-G is a not-for-profit company whose directors do not earn a salary and were executive members at the time of the founding of the company “They are volunteers. They are not  in receipt of any material benefit from IDPADA-G,” he said, adding that the secretariat whose salaries are in the ratio of the range of the public sector’s entities to current expenses.,” he said.

Mr Alexander said the annual salary bill of that organisation is GY$42 million, and the staff members craft business plans, projects and grant request proposals for government and donor funding. “Our staff is at the disposal of the community. That’s what they are paid to do in the first instance,” he said. He said the organisation also conducts training, disaster response, public education, and entrepreneurial facilitation among others.

Among its work, he recalled, was the spending of GY$5 million to identify persons who had been bypassed for flood relief with the knowledge of the Ministry of Agriculture.

While IDPADA-G’s mandate does not include the award of grants, officials of that organisation explained that in late 2018 , GY$10 million grant was specifically provided as a grant to Afro-Guyanese and that money was mostly used in 2018 and 2019. Mr Alexander said the remaining approximately GY$343,000 was disbursed in 2020, and that the Vice President’s assertion was “either malicious or gross incompetence.”

Mr. Alexander said before Mr Jagdeo’s news conference last week, IDPADA-G received a call “directing and demanding” financial information which was “misused” during that media engagement. The IDPADA-G official said that the organisation’s financial information is audited according to law and the government has twice sent investigators to the offices, but no evidence has ever been uncovered.

Ms Sampson said in the area of capacity building, IDPADA-G spent GY$22, 386, 555  in 2018; GY$44,324,848 in 2019 and GY$11,762,671. In the area of tuition assistance and scholarships, $1,879,036 in 2018;  $2,083,751 in 2019 and  $1,846,140 in 2020.  Night schools attracted expenses totalling $3 million to support their reopening after they were closed after 2020.

IDPADA-G, she said, 77 of the 232 small contractors have so far graduated from a course on how to submit successful bids. More persons are to be trained, Ms Sampson added.

She said IDPADA-G , in collaboration with the International Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture, supported 33 small businesses in costing, marketing and packaging for micro and small businesses in preparation for the UJAMA exhibition and sale last July that attracted more than 160 businesses. She said small businesses were provided with tents, chairs, tables, table cloth and sanitation.

The CEO also outlined other areas of training  and support as well as counselling to the survivors of the Henry cousins who were brutally killed and their bodies found aback Cotton Tree village, West Coast Berbice.