At the time when OBCA announced its fifth annual convention coming June, a man no less than its Chairman differed with the idea of holding convention to simply elect a new executive. Hari Adhikari Bangaley talked to BNS on the point of his difference with his own team and justifies for a joint plan of actions by ABA and OBCA involving all city-based community organizations. He apparently refused to subscribe to the idea of holding fifth convention without having any plan on the table. Excerpts of his interview:
BNS: What is the major disagreement within OBCA officials? Have you been talking to your staff on your point of disagreement?
Bangaley: After I assumed the office as a chairman, I asked the outgoing chair and others to send me details of OBCA-bylaws, registration status, and bank information. On top, I wanted to see the activity plan of OBCA. It was so much frustrating that it took several weeks for them to send me the bylaws. I had to make several requests for making those documents available to me. As a chair, I should be aware of where the organization stands. To my surprise, I found out that there was no any plan on table. I offered to draft the activity plan. When I sought a help from my lawyer I found out that OBCA had long been declared as “administrative dissolution”. I also found that the owner of OBCA in record is someone who had never been the OBCA active member. I made an honest attempt to begin a process of reinstatement, and that the board suggested former chairperson would support me in the process. Instead of receiving any helps, I did not get any cooperation as exposure of the dissolution made him further unhappy.
Second, accountability has been an issue. OBCA is a not for profit soon to receive a 501(C)3 status. It was well explained and discussed. Members were excited and everyone of us dreamed to get tax-exempted. To get to that stage we need to have a thorough activity plan which I assured to bring shortly for discussion. The other thing that upset few in the leadership was the track record of past activities with expenses details that I requested to be documented. I explained that while we apply for 501(3) status after OBCA gets reinstated there will be several questions to track past activities which is a requirement. I was flexible with my requests that the past chairman talk to the concerned in-charges and give me tentative activities. I did not receive anything positive as financial status was not clear. Even during the Colorado Convention, details of income and expenditure was not made available even after several of my requests. People involved in fund raising were reluctant to provide details to the finance section.
Third, I always brought agenda of unification between ABA and OBCA in our meetings. Few OBCA members were not ready for that. At one point we could get consensus about possibility of working unitedly. When I talked to ABA members, they seemed very excited to work together and even ready to holding the convention jointly. I conveyed within OBCA the development about our talk with ABA and later circulated a detailed email seeking suggestions, and proposing an agreement from our team. I asked if any member is willing to be part of the planning meetings. Instead, the vice chair circulated an email stating that the board was against the unity of OBCA & ABA. Few board members who were quoted to be parties to this decision against the unification actually did not know anything about that.
BNS: Are there any specific agendas and objectives for the convention, or just a convention to keep the vehicle moving?
Bangaley: I have not made public anything about the convention. I learnt from my sources that for those who want to hold the convention, the main agenda is to have election and form a group of their favorites.
The joint convention that I proposed to my team at OBCA has specific and detailed activity plan to endorse. My proposal is to seek city and state organizations to get involved in those activity plans and discuss collaborative programs between the cities, OBCA and ABA. OBCA and ABA have discussed urgent need issues to carry out jointly. There may be so many issues that people may want us to work together for. At this point, as I get consensus from OBCA, the joint team of ABA and OBCA will finalize identifying the most important ones and discuss it extensively. It will certainly be announced soon. Very importantly, we will start working on few issues of services to cities even before the joint convention of 2015.
BNS: There have been many expectations from OBCA by the community in all states. Why not a single program could be realized even on a trial error basis?
Bangaley: I fully agree that there is high expectation from OBCA from the community in all states and cities. To this end as the chairman of OBCA I have drafted a comprehensive activity plan for all states and cities and have sought collaborative engagement. If everything works well in ABA-OBCA planning meetings, we can further sketch it to one go program as appropriate for our community across America. ABA has shown its willingness and I have been always ready for it since the beginning. There is no doubt that all communities in all states and cities ever differ to this noble mission. I see the chances and would look forward to see a welcoming voice of the cities and states to make it happen.
BNS: Is there still avenue to do joint convention or unifying program by OBCA and ABA? When will that happen?
Bangaley: Yes, there still is chance to have a joint convention of OBCA and ABA if everyone is honest about making it happen. We have not yet announced it but this is what we have been planning. The details will only be out as we sign an agreement. When these two organizations are willing to do it together and ready to plan what we can do together, that may be what everyone is looking for. I think if cooperation is given to this noble task from every sector, this should happen in the 2015 Joint Annual Convention. In this plan it’s not ABA and OBCA that will be rendering services to the community as a whole. But we have been planning to propose a resource team in the system to engage and involve all intellectuals and other resources that we have within our own community. This is possible if this unification process is not obstructed. It also depends upon the intellectuals, the community organizations and mainly the media group like yours that is required to get involved on acting to do right thing to make this happen. If personal interests chip in, it’s going to be another unfortunate history of petty politics of Bhutanese here in America also as the saying goes “Nepal Gayo Kapaal Sangai, Burma Gayo Karma Sangai”.