IDPADA-G dismisses Jagdeo’s accusation of “misuse” of funds; says organisation is a “not for profit”

Last Updated on Saturday, 27 August 2022, 18:43 by Denis Chabrol

The International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly- Guyana (IDPADA-G) has dismissed Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo’s allegations of “misuse” of state-funds for the benefit of the directors and the opposition, saying that his motive appeared to be to scuttle planned talks with President Irfaan Ali.

Chairman of IDPADA-G, Vincent Alexander said the GY$68 million received in 2018 and $100 million annually from 2019-2022  was properly spent.

Mr Jagdeo has taken issue with that organisation’s survey of farmers who did not receive flood relief, charging that the motive was politically driven in favour of the opposition, presumably the People’s National Congress Reform-led coalition of A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC).  “Even more shocking is the revelation at the press conference today that IPADA-G spent $4M on a “survey” which in reality amounted to another example of misuse, in this instance, undertaking of opposition political work,” he has said.

But Mr Alexander said Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha was involved in the process, something that the government chose to make political mileage of in the National Assembly. “Imagine he (Jagdeo) is critical of us representing Afro-Guyanese who were by-passed for flood relief and terms that as political action. It was done after consultation with and the concurrence of Mustapha and no propaganda was made of it by IDPADA-G,”  Mr Alexander told Demerara Waves Online News.

Mr. Alexander, who is also an opposition election commissioner and longtime PNCR supporter, contended that Mr Jagdeo’s motive was apparently aimed at removing IDPADA-G from engaging with Afro-Guyanese. “Jagdeo wants to discredit me as much as the government wants to deal directly with the African Guyanese community. Irfan has agreed to meet us but has not made the effort to do so. Jagdeo is also setting the scene for that meeting not to take place,” he said. IDPADA-G  wants about GY$58 million more to provide grants

The Vice President said Afro-Guyanese were “in the dark” about how much of the $100M allocated annually since 2019 and $68M in 2018 was spent on paying salaries, who are individuals that were paid, what amounts were they being paid and how were they selected ; how much was spent on rental, who owns the buildings rented, and what process was used for the selection of the buildings, the number of persons benefitted from capacity training, the types of training offered, who conducted the training, and what process was used to select both the trainers and beneficiaries of the training.

Mr Alexander said initially IDPADA-G had rented a building from Mr Charles Corbin for GY$375,000 per month but the organisation has since moved into the former private residence of late President Desmond Hoyte for  GY$200,000 per month and which is “bigger and cheaper.”

In terms of employment costs, the official figures show that salaries, wages and allowances totalled GY$15.5 million in 2018 and GY$38.8 million in 2019.  The accounts also state that IDPADA-G disbursed GY$8.9 million in grants in 2018 and GY$896,043 in 2019. Most of the beneficiaries are cooperative societies.

Activities that the organisation said it has engaged in included business development plan and development, roster of business and farmers, tree planting to celebrate the 180th anniversary of Victoria Village,  engaging the Ministry of Education on IDPADA-G’s strategic objectives for education, Spill The Facts- an online youth development programme, and expanding tech training through a STEM Guyana partnership.

Governance system

Since the eruption of the controversy sparked by Vice President Jagdeo’s statement that Mr Alexander and others are listed as beneficial owners of IDPADA-G, the incorporation documents state that company 10194 is a “private limited liability company without share capital” and “the classes and any maximum number of shares that the company is authorised to issue:- Not for profit- no share capital.” Mr Alexander said being an incorporated entity guarantees independence rather than registering under the Friendly Societies Act.

This is contrary to one of Mr Jagdeo’s questions on why was IPADA-G registered as a private limited liability company where a number of persons (inclusive of yourself {Alexander}) are listed as the beneficial owners instead of a not-for-profit organization

Rastafari Council
Meanwhile, the Guyana Rastafari Council appeared to have sided with Vice President Jagdeo’s concerns, saying that more than 80% of the organizations in IDPADA-G would like to know the answers to those same questions.

The Council said there are more than 40 black groups in the assembly and the three signatories to the bank account are from Cuffy 250. Responding to the Rastafari Council’s assertion that for several years he held the post of chairman illegally since he  was not a representative of any of the organs of IDPADA-G, Mr Alexander recalled that 100 percent of the attendees of the meeting in 2017, including the Rastafari Council, voted for him. He said the Rastafari Council does not represent the Rastafari community since there are at least three sets of Rasta organisations in  IDPADA-G, nd that the Coordinating Committee decided who the signatories were.

The Rastafarian Council charged that, “IDPADA-G was basically hijacked by Cuffy250 and funded by the former gov to campaign during the last election. Because we didn’t join their political bandwagon they sidelined us and we had to leave. Check the party operatives who were at the press conference and also when they started to get the $100 million.”

Mr Alexander also questioned the legitimacy of the representativeness of the Rastafarian Council. When last did the Rastafari community give a mandate to that body that us purporting to speak for them?

He sought to assure that IDPADA-G “from jump street we avoided taking political positions.”  “We recognized the political plurality of the community, including the political activism of proclaimed leader of the Rastafari Council. He had a bed with the PNC.”