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Some MPs consider chik-V clean-up allocation inadequate

Published:Thursday | October 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Gary Spaulding

For some members of Parliament (MP), the $2 million promised to each of the 63 constituencies by the Government to fight the chikungunya virus is merely a drop in the bucket.

West Kingston MP Desmond McKenzie, who is aligned to the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), has asserted that it simply will not do.

The People's National Party (PNP)'s Dr Dayton Campbell, MP for North West St Ann, suggested that if representatives within each parish pool resources, the effort would be more effective.

Mikael Phillips, the PNP MP for North West Manchester, said while the $2 million in and of itself, would not be adequate, the multi-faceted approach was expected to yield positive results.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller announced on Tuesday that $500 million has been provided to address some critical areas of the national health emergency response.

She said $126 million would be deducted from the $500 million for activities led by members of parliament at a cost of $2 million per constituency.

$70m for clean-up activities

Following Tuesday's announcement by Simpson Miller, chairperson for the team monitoring the national health emergency vector control clean-up campaign, Sandrea Falconer, pointed to $70 million being made available to fund clean-up activities presented by parish councils.

Falconer, the minister with responsibility for information, said this allocation makes a provision of $5 million per parish.

"A work programme detailing the activities identified by each parish council must be submitted to the coordinating team, and must be in keeping with the Ministry of Health's mapping of high-risk mosquito breeding areas."

Marisa Dalrymple Philibert, the JLP's MP for South Trelawny, said she was less concerned about the amount of funds being allocated but more so that it is used judiciously to eradicate breeding sites.

"It is good that we have started to take a serious look at what needs to be done," she said.

Added Dalrymple Philibert: "What is important is that there is strict accountability to make sure that these funds are used in a way to destroy the breeding sites of the mosquitoes, as we have to target the enemy that we are fighting first of all, then the epidemic itself."