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Slash in funding to Afro-Guyanese organisation anti-One Guyana- AFC

Last Updated on Saturday, 8 October 2022, 7:56 by Denis Chabrol

Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan

The Alliance For Change (AFC) has castigated government for reducing the amount of funds to the locally established International Decade for People of African Descent- Guyana (IDPADA-G).

“The AFC views this kind of politics as wholly anti-national and its consequences will create only deeper fissures within our ethnic communities which manage by and large,” the AFC said in a statement, days after the Guyana government cut the funding to that privately-owned entity. “This discriminatory action of denial of funding to IDPADA-G will not build national cohesion nor a One Guyana,” that party added.

The Guyana government has embarked on a campaign of One Guyana that seeks to emphasise no discrimination and a collectively developing this oil-rich South American nation, but opposition critics have said in reality some of its decisions are partisan and seek to shut out out the opposition.

IDPADA-G Chairman Vincent Alexander said since September,  government has been disbursing approximately GY$694,000 down from about GY$8.3 million, a cut that would  drastically affect operations. “The entire operation is affected. What survives depends on fundraising and volunteerism. The credit union is relatively autonomous and can survive initially on volunteerism,” he told Demerara Waves Online News. Asked whether government provided an explanation for the reduced subvention, he said the government has embarked on “silence”. “Complete silence. Not even acknowledgement of missives. The same goes for the President who promises when confronted to me but has never provided written response to three written requests. The original request predates Jagdeo tirade,” Mr Alexander said.

AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan said the opposition would likely be asking government several questions in the National Assembly about the allocation of cash to that organisation that had been established by the then APNU+AFC coalition administration. “After more speaking to them, we certainly will not leave out the option of carrying the matter to Parliament with a motion of some sort or major questions the the ministers,” he said.

AFC Chairman Cathy Hughes said it has collected “quite a bit of information” from the organisation which has been providing evening classes in places like Sophia, Greater Georgetown.

The Guyana government and IDPADA-G collided a few months ago when Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo claimed that that entity was creaming off funds for its own benefit, but has provided no hard evidence so far. At the request of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, the audited financial records of IDPADA-G have been submitted but so far government has not made any claim of corruption.

The AFC praised IDPADA-G for managing the funds with “complete transparency and accountability of its subvention, and its stellar operational integrity.”

According to that smaller coalition party, the decision by the mainly Indo-Guyanese backed People’s Progressive Party Civic administration to reduce the allocation to IDPADA-G is part of a plot to occupy almost all of the country’s political space. “The AFC fears that the consequences may be even more horrific if, as is being sensed on the ground, an interpretation is given that this is a form of terrorism unleashed by those who claim to love Guyana more than all others, but whose ethnic politics has only the aim of monopolising power,” that party added.

The Chairman of IDPADA-G has since filed a multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against Mr Jagdeo about his claims of beneficial ownership of that organisation.

The Guyana Rastafari Council has already said there are more than 40 black groups in the assembly and the three signatories to the bank account are from Cuffy 250. “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,” the Council had said.

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October 2022