Human Rights Association rejects claims it owes state $38M


See the full statement from the GHRA below:


The following is a preliminary response to the release by the Department of Public Information (DPI) alleging that the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) has been in breach of the law under which it is registered for the past forty years, creating a debt of some G$38,649,600. owed to the Guyana Government.  The GHRA roundly rejects this allegation.

In view of the public manner in which this charge has been made in your name, it would be equally in the public interest for your response on the matter be given a similar level of publicity, particularly for the benefit of other organizations that may be vulnerable to comparable treatment.

What steps were taken by the Attorney-General’s Chamber in 1991 or more recently to ensure that all of the companies and organizations on the original Companies Register were adequately informed of the changes they were required to make to remain compliant? This is particularly relevant given that NGOs such as the GHRA were forced to register under the original Companies Act due to the absence of legal recognition of the concept of ‘non-profit’. Registration of the GHRA was undertaken by the late Miles Fitzpatrick QC and Ashton Chase QC.

The first audited accounts of the GHRA were for the year 1980 and the last for 2020, along with all forty years in between. What steps has the AG’s Chambers taken to address the legion of organizations of every description functioning without audits of any description, including official bodies?

Since the alleged breach was never raised during the 23 years the PPP were in office during 1992-2015 what factors prompted the current search that produced one single non-compliant organization?

What steps has the Attorney-General’s Chambers taken to legally recognize the category of non-profit organizations in order to put an end to the long-standing dysfunctionality.  

As you are aware, a fundamental requirement of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) states that “stakeholders, including but not limited to members of the multi-stakeholder group must be able to operate freely and express opinions about the EITI without restraint, coercion or reprisal”. (EITI Standard 1.3(e) iv). The current action against the GHRA smacks of ‘reprisal’ and dispelling such impressions requires convincing evidence that it is routine rather than targeted.   

The GHRA looks forward to your prompt response.

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