$468M in State funds to IDPADA-G: Lawsuit filed by Alexander frivolous, without merit – VP says in court documents

Vice President Bharrat has asked the High Court to dismiss the $150 million lawsuit filed by International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly – Guyana (IDPADA-G) Chairman Vincent Alexander, calling the litigation frivolous and without merit.
Last August, during a press conference, VP Jagdeo accused the leaders of IDPADA-G, which include Alexander, of not utilising millions of dollars in State funds adequately to benefit African-Guyanese as was intended. He had also challenged the organisation to properly account for the almost $500 million that was allocated to IDPADA-G between 2019 to 2022.
After a series of public exchanges, Alexander moved to the courts in November 2022, saying that Jagdeo’s allegations of IDPADA-G’s funds being misused has defamed him and impugned his character, among other things. He also denied “subverting public funds or using a race of people for self-advancement”.
In addition to Jagdeo, Alexander also named the Department of Public Information (DPI) – which carried a report on the Vice President’s utterances regarding IDPADA-G’s finances – and the Attorney General as respondents in the lawsuit.
The IDPADA-G Chairman is asking for a public apology for Jagdeo’s “untruthful” and “offensive” statements and a retraction of DPI’s broadcast, among other reliefs including over $150 million in costs.
However, in his response to the lawsuit filed with the court recently, VP Jagdeo said he will be contending during the trial that “…this action is frivolous, vexatious and without merit and should be dismissed with costs to be assessed.”
According to the Vice President, his words being complained about were “fair comments” expressed on a matter of public interest and importance. He contended that only a small proportion of the State funds have been disbursed as grants to ordinary Afro-Guyanese by IDPADA-G.
It was pointed out that of the estimated $100 million disbursed to IDPADA-G annually, only a mere $343,000 or 0.343 per cent was actually used for the ultimate benefit of Afro-Guyanese, while some $42 million or 42 per cent was paid annually in salaries to the executives of the organisation.
“The words complained of were fair comments and an expression of honest opinions on matters of public importance. The words were published on a matter of public importance and their publication was for the public benefit. The [Vice President] was under a public duty to publish the said words to the general public who are entitled to receive such information. The said words complained of were published on an occasion of qualified privilege,” Jagdeo’s response to the court detailed.
Furthermore, the Vice President went on to state in the legal document that the publication of his statements by DPI was in full compliance of the entity’s duties and obligations as a responsible journalist.
“The first named Defendant [VP Jagdeo] denies that the publication of the words complained of were actuated by malice,” it was argued.
In August 2022, Vice President Jagdeo had raised questions about the spending of nearly half a billion dollars in State funds by IDPADA-G and challenged the organisation to show how the monies were used uplift Afro-Guyanese.
But during a subsequent press briefing, Alexander defended the organisation against Jagdeo’s assertions, stating that he is not paid for his work and that the Vice President is trying to vilify the entity.
“We are proud of the fact that we are able to fund the night schools which have brought back children into the loop of the education system. This we do in Georgetown and in the Corentyne. So that’s another instance of the outreach.”
“And many people would know of the work that was done in the Mocha Arcadia market day, which we also funded. Many people would know of the exhibitions we have had, at Square of the Revolution and the Avenue,” Alexander said, describing this as physical manifestations of their work.
The organisation also sent out a statement in which it further defended itself and detailed more of its work. While they did not deny that staff were paid $42 million in 2020 as Jagdeo had laid out, IDPADA-G explained that staff provide a myriad of services to the African-Guyanese community.
In response, however, the Vice President contended that Alexander’s statements had left more questions than answers. Jagdeo went on to declare that he had no intention of apologising to Alexander and challenged the IDPADA-G Head to “…take whatever course of action he wishes. Afro-Guyanese still remain in the dark as it relates to the benefits of the close to half a billion dollars utilised.”
Meanwhile, after this issue of its spending was brought to light, IDPADA-G in August 2022 announced the distribution of grant awards, valued at $100,000 each, to nine member organisations. A total of 24 projects were approved for grants to support community-based initiatives that aim to promote justice, recognition, and sustainable development within the African Guyanese community.