UN official calls for regulation of charities
A “capacity deficit” exists among civil society organizations here and there is need for a charities commission to regulate these organizations, a top United Nations official said.
National Coordinator for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for Small Grants Programme David Bynoe said this morning that while civil society organizations in Barbados were robust, there were weaknesses and challenges that had to be overcome.
Bynoe told those gathered at Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St Michael for the Barbados Network Consultation (BNC) 4th Diaspora Conference that a large number of civil society organizations had low capacity, impeding their ability to develop, implement and manage projects.
“You can imagine yourself giving a large sum of money to an organization and when it comes to give an account for the talents you would have given them, they cannot give an account. When you look at the books you cannot see how the money was spent, accounts are not balancing and receipts are missing. This is capacity that we have to address because if you cannot be faithful with your few sprinkles, how can we ask this of you this morning when it rains? We need to be cognizant that this capacity deficit exists and we need to address it,” the United Nations official said.
Bynoe, who was part of a panel discussing The Joy of Giving-Fostering Philanthropy, charged that it was often difficult for civil society groups which receive grants from the UNDP to raise matching funds, and that there were instances where some organizations engaged in fraudulent practices
“At this time I would like to say that Barbados should go the way of a charities commission that regulates these civil society organizations. It should also be empowered to regulate the giving in terms of philanthropic giving, also philanthropic activity,” he recommended.
Meanwhile, President of the Hope Foundation Shelly Weir lamented the lack of rules to regulate the operation of charities.
“There is no regulation at present, so I can come today and collect money for the care of dogs, but I can spend the money on a motor car. Nobody is monitoring how the funds are spent. That same person can turn up to Corporate Affairs tomorrow and register another charity and continue the scam all over again. This explains why I am calling for a charities commission to be established,” Weir told the conference.