NTC concerned about accusations of malpractice

Dear Editor,

The National Tosahos’ Council (NTC) is expressing its deep concern over the numerous articles published in the media by someone purporting to represent the indigenous peoples of Guyana and accusing the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) of malpractice at various levels.

The NTC wishes to distance itself from this(ese) organization(s) or person(s) and categorically state that those views and articles do not represent the indigenous position.

It must also be noted that the NTC sees these articles not only as contrary to constructive ongoing dialogue with the IDB as civil society partners, but also as irresponsible in nature considering the IDB’s role in Guyana as a development partner to Guyana.

From the signing of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) project agreement in February 2014, there have been funds that have been budgeted for institutional support for the NTC and other indigenous NGO’s.

In December 2014 funds were initially disbursed to the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) as the executing agency to facilitate the commencement of the FCPF project as determined by the GFC but laid dormant.

As of June 2015, no activities related to the project had taken place and to avoid cancellation of the project, the IDB recalled the initial disbursement of funds advanced to the GFC to reset the clock on the funds and the project.

The IDB has formally communicated to and confirmed to the NTC and the indigenous beneficiary NGOs of the FCPF project, that all resources remain available to the project and to the Government of Guyana

Most recently it was identified to the indigenous NGOs that the new implementing agency for the FCPF project is the Ministry of Natural Resources.

This news now gives us – the NTC and applicable NGO’s, an opportunity, with the government’s support, to finally access these funds for institutional support for the NTC and other NGO’s to build our capacities for REDD+ as one priority area of the FCPF project.

Also, the NTC and the FCPF beneficiary NGOs recently received a communication from the IDB in response to a letter sent to the World Bank and the IDB complaining of the conduct of the IDB’s Guyana office in handling the FCPF project. The IDB in keeping with its principles of transparency responded to the complainant’s concerns and shared their response and all the FCPF project documents and policy guidelines with the beneficiary stakeholders

It would appear that the complainant to the World Bank, though knowledgeable of the IDB’s role in Guyana to support development, has made some accusations that may have arisen out of a lack of understanding of the IDB’s and the Government’s role in the LCDS and execution of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) project in Guyana, respectively.

As per the contractual agreement between the IDB as the delivery partner and the Government of Guyana, the procurement and fiduciary functions of the FCPF project are the responsibility of the executing agency; now the ministry of Natural Resources. Contrary to what was written in the press, the project agreement and procurement plans which is publicly available on the IDB’s website does not cater for any direct transfer of funds to any other organization or entity.

Based on the letter sent to the IDB and the IDB’s communication to the beneficiary stakeholders, the NTC has formally submitted a request to the IDB for an independently facilitated meeting engaging ALL stakeholders to the FCPF project to clear up all issues – real and perceived – as it relates to the FCPF project, the IDB’s role, and the Government of Guyana’s role in the implementation of the project.

We are of the expectation that all stakeholders, including the ones publishing in the media, will be in attendance when such invitation is issued to avoid any missed opportunities to appropriately communicate to the relevant personnel all their concerns regarding the funds, implementing agency, and institutional conduct – if so desired.

This, we firmly believe, is the most appropriate mode to achieve the transparency and accountability that is sought by the various authors of the various articles and may prove exceptionally useful to alleviating any fears or misunderstanding of the various stakeholders’ positions.

The NTC looks forward to this meeting and to the potential it holds to achieving the objectives laid out in the NTC’s request.

The National Toshaos Council is a body comprised of all the Toshaos of all the 212 indigenous communities of Guyana. As such we are charged with representing all 75 000 plus indigenous peoples of our 9+ indigenous nations


Lenox Shuman

Vice Chair

National Tosahos’