Holness responds to CDF controversy
Member of Parliament for West Central St Andrew and Leader of the Opposition Andrew Holness says some of the money from the $8.8 million he saved from Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocations over a seven-year period will be used to carry out temporary repairs to the Olympic Gardens Police Station and connect a community to the sewer main along Olympic Way.
Holness said the balance of the funds would be used to co-finance zinc removal along Olympic Way and to fund the proposed hip-strip project in his constituency.
In a media release yesterday, the West Central St Andrew MP said the funds were never designated for a zinc fence removal project at the outset.
According to Holness, the original project was geared towards building a new home for the Olympic Gardens Police Station and a town centre for the area, which is showing signs of developing into a major commercial centre.
Holness argued that when the CDF was instituted in 2008, it was policy that MPs could set aside funds for major community development projects which could not be funded in a year.
FUNDS SHOULD HAVE BEEN SURRENDERED
However, responding to questions from The Gleaner regarding the saving of CDF money to effect projects in the years ahead, Deputy Financial Secretary Lorris Jarrett said the Financial Administration and Audit Act states that every appropriation by Parliament of public money in relation to a financial year shall cease to have effect at the close of that fiscal year and must be paid into the Consolidated Fund, unless approval is given by the Ministry of Finance for the funds to be used within three months of the end of the financial year.
These funds, she said, should be used to make payments due and owing for goods delivered, services rendered, or work completed before the close of that financial year.
Asked what should have been done in the case of the $8.8 million saved by the MP at the National Works Agency to implement future projects, the senior technocrat said the agency to which the funds were disbursed should have, at the end of the financial year in which the funds were received, returned the money to the CDF Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister.
"The funds would then have been surrendered to the Consolidated Fund," she added.