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Opposition claims Government starving parish councils of funds

Published:Friday | November 4, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Noel Arscott

The parliamentary Opposition has accused the Government of playing politics with the Parochial Revenue Fund (PRF), charging that the money is being withheld to sabotage the People's National Party-controlled parish councils as local government elections draw closer.

Speaking on the motion of adjournment in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Opposition Spokesman on Local Government Noel Arscott on Wednesday called for the Government to release the PRF immediately so that the parish councils can pay their bills and carry out the cleaning of drains and gullies.

According to Arscott, Section 14 of the Local Government Financing and Financial Management Act of 2016 states clearly that the funds from property taxes and motor vehicle licences should be paid to the councils at the end of each month.

He said the PRF at parish councils had been used up in preparation for Hurricane Matthew.

"Is the Government playing politics with people's lives? This is unacceptable. The Opposition is demanding now that the funds be immediately released to the councils across the country," he said.

In responding to Arscott yesterday, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie said the councils had failed to submit the requisite submissions in order for the ministry to release the funds.

McKenzie also said that the Jamaica Labour Party would be seeking to increase its control of parish councils.

Number of

prospective candidates:

JLP: 228

PNP: 228

Current balance

of power:

PNP controls 13 parish councils and Portmore Municipal Council

JLP controls 0

Division count:

PNP: 152

JLP: 75

IND: 01