The Social Cohesion Ministry has earmarked some $219 million to host various events for Guyana’s Republic Day celebrations.
The announcement was made by Permanent Secretary Melissa Tucker, who said that the money will be garnered from Government. However, there has been no budget for 2020 since the Government fell to a No-Confidence Motion and is obligated to head into elections.
During a press conference on the celebrations, Tucker said, “In terms of the ministry’s contribution for the Republic celebrations, we’re looking at approximately a budget of $219 million from the Government of Guyana and of course monies from our main sponsors.”
This year, Guyana will be celebrating 50 years as a Republic.
While most of these events will take place in the coming weeks, one of the main events will take place this weekend at the Republic Day Youth Village, which will be held at D’Urban Park as well as the Chutney Explosion and Curry Fest on January 25.
Meanwhile, the Chutney Explosion will include a car and bike show and duck curry competition which will be followed by a concert.
Social Cohesion Minister George Norton, who has responsibility for culture, youth and sport, alluded to the significance of these celebrations and he urged Guyanese to be fully involved.
This year’s activities are being celebrated under the theme “Guyana Together; Reflect, Celebrate and Transform”.
In his latest report, Auditor General Deodat Sharma has stated that the Guyana Lotteries Commission had more than $300 million taken from its coffers by the David Granger-led Government in 2018 and that money was used on a number of cultural activities, including millions of dollars on flags.
According to the report, the fund had an opening balance of $47.7 million and during the year, $715.3 million was received. Of this amount, $326 million was transferred to the Consolidated Fund, while $355.8 million was spent on activities approved by the Cabinet. The fund ended the year with a closing balance of $81.2 million.
Under the Ministry of the Presidency, this includes $2.4 million to purchase national flags for the D’Urban Park and Stabroek Market Square. A further $34.7 million for Guyana’s independence anniversary celebrations.
In laying out the proper functions of the lottery funds, the AG noted that the Government of Guyana and Canadian Bank Note Ltd (CBN) entered an agreement establishing a Government Lottery under the Government Lotteries Act, Chapter 80:07.
“Under this agreement, CBN is to pay licence fees equivalent to 24% of gross revenue,” the report states. “The Guyana Lotteries Commission manages the licence fees receivable and ensure that amounts expended are within the national sector and in accordance with the guidelines for access to the lottery funding. The Lotteries Commission continued to receive proceeds from the national lottery which were used to make payments approved by the Cabinet.
The Commission is subject to separate financial reporting and auditing. The last set of audited accounts was for the year 2013. According to the Receipts and Disbursements Statement of the Ministry of Finance, for 2018, the Ministry budgeted $300 million for Lottery Receipts under the category of Miscellaneous Revenue and an amount of $326 million was transferred from (the lotto fund) to the Consolidated Fund,” the AG report also stated.