NTC’S criticism fallout…says officials unable to account for wealthAt the opening of the 2018 National Toshaos Conference, Government has been accused of breaking promises made to the National Toshaos Council (NTC); and Indigenous People’s Affairs Minister Sydney Allicock, in seeming retaliation, has taken a tough stance against toshaos who allegedly profiteer off public funds.Sitting emotionless throughout NTC Chairman Joel Fredericks’s speech, which lambasted Government for its sloth in keeping promises made to indigenous peoples, Minister Allicock, when his turn came to speak, issued an ominous warning to the effect that toshaos had better be able to account for personal financial gains.“I must say that we have not gone to take anybody to court because of mismanagement of the village funds. But for this next council, I would like to signal to the toshaos that we had three years to get it right. You have to prove that you got it right!” Allicock warned.“So those toshaos who have public property and homes and cannot give account for the funds they were given responsibility for, you will be called to answer for it!” he declared.“We still have some persons who do not want to hand over keys, but you were notIndigenous People’s Affairs Minister Sydney Allicock, during his address to the Toshao’s Councilput in that position on your own; people put you there. You are servants of the people. Let us talk it! Walk it! Reflect it!” Allicock charged.The minister also expressed expectations for the NTC. According to Allicock, the Indigenous Affairs Ministry has, over the past three years, worked on unifying communities and facilitating discourse. He expressed hope that the new council would continue in this vein.“In going forward as the newly and hopefully improved NTC, we must elect persons to the executive committee based on what they can and will do for all indigenous people of Guyana. We must elect people who place a high premium on accountability; not just for resources placed at their disposal, but also for their actions,” he admonished.The Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs (MoIPA) has been awarded $2.2 billion in the 2018 budget. Last year, Government provided a budgetary allocation of $16 million to the NTC. It is understood that individual communities have been crafting Village Improvement Plans (VIP).The VIP is an initiative birthed from the Sustainable Indigenous Villages and Communities Policy (SIV&CP). Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Alfred King, had last March said the MoIPA would be working with villages and communities in the Santa Rosa, Moruca Sub-district of Region One to implement their respective VIPs.King had been a member of a team led by Minister within the Indigenous Peoples Affairs Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe, on a recent visit to Region One. King had explained the working of the VIP, and had claimed that its introduction was at an opportune time.During his presentation, King had said, “We are always going to use that as a model or framework to guide such development in communities; and I think the time is right now — after spending some time working on that plan in Region 9 — to roll it out as a national effort”.He had added, “It will require a number or resources, a lot of competence, a lot of technical support; and once there’s a good plan, where do you go next? Because a good plan just cannot make things happen; a good plan will just guide the process of development and/or implementing activities in a structured way.”
Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL), the parent company of the Republic Bank Limited (RBL) Group, and its subsidiaries have recorded profits to the tune of US$184.5 million for the nine-month period, which ended June 30, 2019.This figure represents an increase of US$35.8 million or 24.1 per cent over the corresponding period in the previous year.According to RFHL Chairman Ronald Harford, it was reported at the end of March 31, 2019, that there were two significant one-off items— the net impact of which increased profits by US13.9 million. Excluding the impact of these items, he noted that the Group’s core profit was US$170.6 million, that is, US$21.9 million or 14.7 per cent more than the prior period.Apart from RBL Barbados, Harford said there was a general improvement in profitability across the Group, with the RBL Trinidad and Tobago Group earning US$9.8 million and Cayman National Corporation bringing in US$8.6 million— being the main contributors to the significant increase in core profitability. He added too that approximately one-third of RFHL’s core profits are generated from overseas operations.Meanwhile, the Group’s Chairman outlined that the total assets stood at US$12.8 billion at June 30, 2019, representing an increase of US$2.4 billion or 22.4 per cent over the corresponding period in June last year.“This was mainly due to the acquisition of Cayman National Corporation on March 13, 2019, which added US$1.7 billion to the Group’s asset base,” he noted.Furthermore, Harford mentioned RFHL’s previous announcement of the commencement of the process to acquire Scotiabank’s banking operations in Guyana, Sint Maarten and the Eastern Caribbean (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), saying, “we continue to engage the various regulators, whose approvals are required for the acquisition, through meetings/and or providing information”.Nevertheless, the RFHL Chairman posited that he expects the Group’s performance to continue for the remainder of the year.In its previous financial report, the RFHL Group reported a profit after taxation and non-controlling interest of $1.3 billion for the year that ended September 30, 2018.The directors had declared a dividend of $3.15 per share for that financial year. A half-year dividend of $1.25 per share was paid on June 1, 2018, making a total dividend on each share $4.40 (2017: $4.40).