CaribID Questions Whether NYS Governor Patterson is Playing Politics With the Census Grant

Dec 31, 2009, 17:40 ET from CaribID

NEW YORK, Dec. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Two weeks after the stated New York Census grant deadline of December 15th, Governor David Patterson's office suddenly announced in a press statement on December 31st, the list of the grant awardees.

In the Caribbean community, CaribID and the Caribbean Immigrant Services Youth Core, which have been leading the Census education effort among this bloc with their own resources since 2008, have been dismissed from among the grant awardees of the $2 million in grants set aside for Census awareness.

This despite the fact that based on CaribID's advocacy a congressional and senate bill was introduced in April and May of 2009 to call for a Caribbean American origins category on U.S. Census forms.

And that CaribID is the main group at the forefront of leading the push through partners in the media, churches and groups in New York State and nationally, to educate Caribbean nationals on the need to count in 2010.

Yet funds have been allocated to two Caribbean groups that have no background or track record in publicly raising the Census as a concern since their existence, but have now expressed interest given the fact that there is a two million carrot at stake. And the governor's office has failed to look at track records on this issue and handed the carrots to these groups.

Worse, no Caribbean group was selected for a media grant despite the fact that this bloc is the most undercounted across the city.

"The decision is an insult and an outrage and begs the question as to the transparency of this grant application process," said Felicia Persaud, founder of CaribID. "Were applications even reviewed or studied based on organizations' track record on this issue or was the decision made based on groups that are supporters and cronies of the governor?"

The CaribID founder added that the decision smacks of the complete and continued dismissal of the Caribbean American bloc, even by the U.S. Census itself. To date, said Persaud, no Caribbean company or media houses have even been allocated a slice of the $300 million that will be spent in promotion of the 2010 Census.

"It's a double whammy," said Persaud.

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