Guyana Youth Business Summit: Nonreceipt of Grants

Director of Youth, Melissa Carmichael-Haynes is outraged by the reckless allegations being made against the Department of Youth, in some sections of the media.  These allegations were made with specific reference to Grant Awardees who have not yet been able to access their grants because they have failed to comply with the formal requirements.

To bring clarity to the matter, the Department wishes to highlight the objectives which guided the hosting of the Guyana Youth Business Summit as well as a few critical aspects of the process.

The Department of Youth, which falls within the purview of the Ministry of the Presidency, is mandated to provide opportunities and a safe space for the youth of Guyana to network and to foster an environment that would bring about their empowerment and development.  It, therefore, follows that this Department is required to create programmes and activities which seek to support youth initiatives and to address the challenges facing our youth; one of which is youth unemployment.

Guided by ‘The National Youth Policy of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana’ (NYP), Policy Priority 2, ‘Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship’ (Pg.15), the Department hosted the Guyana Youth Business Summit from May 23 – 24, 2018 at the Pegasus Hotel.  Young entrepreneurs from across the Ten Administrative Regions were given the opportunity to engage in discussions on starting and developing their businesses.

During the Summit, 11 participants were declared winners of the ‘Jaguar’s Den Competition’ and were selected for grant funding to develop their proposed businesses.  Subsequently, the Department of Youth held a meeting with the winners to discuss the expectations and documentation required to facilitate the processing of grants.

At this meeting, we recognised that a significant number of the businesses proposed lacked the relevant documentation; as such, recipients were given the deadline of June 22, 2018, to submit the relevant documents.

These documents are:

  • Business Registration
  • NIS Compliance
  • TIN Certificate
  • National Identification Card
  • EPA Compliance (where applicable)
  • Business Account Number

On June 22, 2018, the Department received the required documents from some of the awardees, while others failed to submit same.  At that point, those who were unable to provide the documents recounted a litany of challenges which precluded them from meeting this deadline.  In deference to them, the Department then granted an extension to the original deadline.

The Department of Youth then submitted the request for grants to be processed based on the documents which were in their possession after the initial deadline of June 22nd, 2018.

To date, those payments have been processed; however, the account numbers which were provided have proven to be personal accounts and as such deposits have been delayed until business account numbers are submitted.

The Department of Youth will continue to collaborate with the young people of Guyana on projects to foster development and empowerment.  However, it must be noted that the Government of Guyana has processes of accountability which require adherence to the rules and standards which are in place to guide our actions and we must comply.