Stick up Shaw, says ‘Warmy’ - MPs urged to rally to get CDF millions owed by SDC
State Minister Everald Warmington has suggested that parliamentarians confront Finance Minister Audley Shaw during March’s Budget debate in another attempt to get approximately $140 million that the Social Development Commission (SDC) owes constituencies.
Yesterday, he told a meeting of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) of Parliament that while he could not lead the charge, members should take a motion to the Parliament after the 2017-2018 national Budget is tabled demanding an amendment to ensure that members of parliament (MPs) get the money.
“I don’t know what you guys think about it, if you want your money or you don’t want your money. It’s the last chance to get it. And the last time I’m going to speak about it,” said the committee chairman.
He continued, “It won’t go down well if I move the motion, because they expect collective government and a minister should not come here (Parliament) and force his minister to make an amendment. But, naturally, I can vote for it,” to which opposition member Dr Dayton Campbell responded: “Enough said, Chairman!”
“I expect all of us, whether minister or non-minister, to support the thing, because all of us have a few more millions to collect,” Warmington added.
The SDC is the main agency used by MPs to implement approved projects in constituencies.
Dwayne Vernon, SDC executive director, said most of the money owed was used to cover the agency’s budget between 2008 (when the CDF came into operation) and 2012. “The local government ministry, through the Ministry of Finance, is looking at a payment plan to cause the sum to be addressed over a number of financial years,” he told The Gleaner.
Warmington’s suggestion appeared to stem from disappointment, as he told the meeting that Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie had committed to talk with the finance ministry to have the outstanding money refunded in the 2016-2017 revised budget.
That budget was approved last week without any allocation.
Financial Secretary Everton McFarlane has said he will not comment on the upcoming Budget because it is still being worked on.