Oceana funneled Money to UNIBAM Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 25 July 2013 00:00

Audrey Matura-Shepherd and Caleb OrozcoAfter a few minutes of reading what appeared to be a tiresome contribution by Audrey Matura-Shepherd in the Sunday, July 21 edition of the Amandala newspaper, entitled 'The Pen is Mightier than the Sword',  there, in the final two paragraphs of the essay was an admission of things going wrong at Oceana, under her watch. The article states the following:

"I end this issue on money to remind all LGBT, as can be verified by their leader, Caleb, that the monetary donation UNIBAM received from a certain foundation came through the Oceana account and was written on an Oceana cheque. So the very Oceana they seek to tell the LGBT not to support, was the means via which the said foundation siphoned their money to them. How ironic, that after such favor was done via Oceana, they should still seek to write some of the most vile things on Oceana's Facebook page. Maybe I should publish a copy of the cheque to prove further truth to the matter. Now they should go make queries to determine why their foundation-approved money had to be channeled through another recipient of a grant.

Although I now depart, I cannot see Oceana again allowing itself to be used to facilitate such a process again, since the beneficiary of their kindness clearly is not deserving of Oceana's risk to facilitate money for a mission not legally sanctioned under Oceana's statutory and legal mandate... but God does not like ugly! ... "

Wait a minute... is this right? Audrey Matura is publicly admitting that Oceana may have done something illegal? Was she at the time not at the helm of the organization and bears ultimate responsibility if indeed something illegal was done? Then there are other questions. How much money was 'siphoned'? Did the Government get its taxes off it? Audrey's admission that one Non Governmental Organization (NGO) received money on behalf of another proves what many have clamored for, that is that NGO's should be properly regulated.

Some legal advice we sought on the matter suggests that any organization has the right to donate money to any cause unless of course, it can be proven that the money was attained through some illegal means. Matura has not proven this but she does cast aspersions as to Oceana's role. As far as anyone knows, the organization is tasked at looking at the wellbeing of marine life and the oceans. UNIBAM of course does not fit into this category but NGO's are know to deviate from their mandate.

As for the monetary donation itself, UNIBAM was quick to come to the defense of the donation. In a press release, it states that the donor agency is actually Oak Foundation. It goes on to state that, "The Oak Foundation made a small grant to UNIBAM through Oceana Belize with the full knowledge and co-operation of its Vice President in Belize. Such a practice is not unusual where the recipient group and funding amount is small and the cost of processing and transfer of funds too onerous. We are assured that in the same re-granting process via Oceana, funds were also given to other organizations in Belize such as Haven House, a shelter for women, Alumni 90, a group supporting infrastructure upgrades at the Belmopan Comprehensive School and UBAD Foundation to support radio broadcast during Reef Week. It is ironic that the Vice President of Oceana in Belize did not see fit to mention that detail."

Whatever the misgivings between Matura-Shepherd and UNIBAM, we are sure that this open combat will continue to play out.