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FACT CHECKER: Shaw fumbles facts - MP misrepresents Equalisation Fund disbursements on political platform

Published:Saturday | January 30, 2016 | 1:00 AMDaraine Luton

Opposition spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw on Thursday night, while on a political platform in Lionel Town, Clarendon, misrepresented facts about disbursements of money from the Equalisation Fund to the 22 divisions in the Clarendon Parish Council.

Shaw, who had raised the matter of disbursements from the Fund in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, claimed, on the political platform in the South East Clarendon community, that the constituency represented by the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP's) Rudyard Spencer was not allocated any money from the Equalisation Fund this year.

The Equalisation Fund represents disbursements to the local authorities by central Government.

In Clarendon, $100.5 million was spent across the 22 parish council divisions, $51 million of which was spent in South West Clarendon.

Shaw alleged in Parliament that a similar lopsided allocation took place last year when South West Clarendon, represented by Local Government Minister Noel Arscott, got $73.3 million.

Shaw used the Lionel Town meeting to say that Spencer's constituency was being starved of resources as opposed to Arscott's neighbouring seat, which has been getting more of the State's resources.

"The Equalisation Fund is supposed to equalise between all the 63 MPs (members of Parliament) across Jamaica. And in Clarendon, in the Equalisation Fund last year, him tek whe $73 million fi himself and his constituency. Yuh know how much him give to Ruddy Spencer? Three million dollars. This year, him tek whe $51 million from the Equalisation Fund. Yuh know how much him give to Ruddy Spencer? Zero!"

Not supported by documents

However, Shaw's platform statement is not supported by documents that were laid in Parliament on Tuesday.

In South East Clarendon, where Spencer is defending a 107-vote margin, some $16.5 million from the Equalisation Fund was spent across the four divisions - Palmer's Cross, Mineral Heights, Hayes, and Rocky Point.

The records show that $6 million was spent in 2015 for the rehabilitation of Moores School Road in the Palmer's Cross Division. In that same division, Harris Road was rehabilitated at a cost of $1.2 million in 2015.

Additionally, $3 million was spent rehabilitating Swamp Road in the Rocky Point division; $4.9 million on repairing Jungle Road in the Hayes division; $1 million repairing the King Street drain in Lionel Town; and $480,000 was spent undertaking public education and social intervention in the same community.

Some $2.5 million was shared among all 22 divisions for the trucking of water to drought-stricken areas, the document shows.

Palmer's Cross and Hayes are represented by People's National Party councillors, while Mineral Heights and Rocky Point have JLP councillors.