Bitter feud splits Youth Parliament body

Stabroek News
June 12, 2003

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A struggle has erupted over control of executive responsibilities for the National Youth Parliament (NYP) precipitated by events at the last sitting of the NYP.

Two factions now claim legitimacy for their Boards of Directors and the standoff comes in the wake of the high-profile May 29, 2003, sitting of the youth parliament at the Ocean View Convention Centre.

A statement from what is said to be the new management of the NYP yesterday noted that its body had obtained all legal rights of NYP activities and programmes, including the annual debates, and local, regional and international linkages with various youth parliaments.

The matter was thrown into the public domain last weekend with the publishing of advertisements in the daily newspapers by Kwame McCoy’s Guyana Youth Development Association (GUYDA) which had been co-ordinating events for the NYP.

These advertisements gave the names and carried pictures of two individuals who were said to be no longer associated with either the National Youth Parliament or GUYDA. It added that they no longer had authority to transact business on behalf of GUYDA or NYP.

But in a letter to McCoy dated June 6, Executive Director of the newly constituted NYP-Guyana, Howard Samaroo instructed McCoy to hand over all items belonging to the Youth Parliament. McCoy was informed that he was no longer a member of the Board of Trustees currently governing the NYP. McCoy could not be contacted by Stabroek News yesterday for his response to this development.

Samaroo also expressed dissatisfaction at the way in which McCoy conducted himself during his tenure as Executive Chairman of what he says is the now dissolved NYP 2003 Co-ordinating Committee.

In addition, McCoy was also asked to prepare and submit to the NYP Board of Trustees, by tomorrow, a detailed financial statement showing all expenditure and the amount of money collected.

Samaroo stated that he had sought legal advice on his supposed dismissal by McCoy from the post of Deputy Director of GUYDA. He said it violated the purported chain of command of the body.

Finance Director and Spokesperson of NYP-Guyana, Saarah Gajraj, in a statement to this newspaper, said that amid planning for the 2003 sitting of the NYP, committee members took legal steps against McCoy because of his handling of the parliament.

She noted that McCoy was in no way affiliated to NYP-Guyana which was, she said, now certified by law and was governed as an organisation with a Board of Directors.

Samaroo in his letter maintained that McCoy had been invited to a June 3 meeting to which he did not go, noting that his absence was deliberate. McCoy was further accused of soliciting his personal associates at short notice to execute tasks reserved for NYP co-ordinators, without consulting with, or gaining approval from, the majority of NYP co-ordinators. But Samaroo added, “we are prepared to amicably settle all NYP matters with you and extend to you ordinary membership [of NYP] in a legal and democratic framework.”

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