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CDF Committee approves 40 projects ahead of summer break

Published:Wednesday | July 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue/ Senior Gleaner Writer

As Parliament's Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Committee goes into summer recess, more than 40 projects were approved at yesterday's sitting. But Chairman Everald Warmington criticised some projects brought for approval.

A project from long-standing member of parliament (MP) for St Mary South Eastern, Dr Morais Guy, for funding contribution to the St Mary Regatta, a Jamaica Cultural Development Com-mission summer activity, was deemed as "donkey race". The regatta, according to Guy, has been a highly anticipated annual event since 1962.

All MPs in the parish contribute to the staging of the regatta.

"It can only be the annual regatta that he is talking about. It features sea activities, including boat races and it provides business opportunities ... and it allows many to earn money by offering goods and services," Guy told The Gleaner in defence.

Warmington, however, viewed the projects as nothing more than a "donkey race", arguing that the CDF should not be used to fund such an activity.

Despite the CDF chairman's comments, the project was allowed for signature.

Warmington was not as strident when a similar project for St Elizabeth North West MP Floyd Green came before the committee. Green was seeking $150,000 for a project named 'St Elizabeth South West Black River Day 2018/2019'.

"Is the same thing I am talking about here," Warmington said. "Waste of money. These guys send projects that totally don't need to come here. You are contributing to an event, you don't need to send it here to waste our time," charged Warmington.

He advised that a simple letter with the request to the implementing agency should be enough, but North East Manchester MP Mikael Phillips pointed out that the agencies would not budge without proper documentation.

One project from West Central St Catherine MP Dr Christopher Tufton raised eyebrows, as there was concern that the project should have been submitted from May, and scepticism as to whether disbursement would begin in time.

More than 40 projects were approved yesterday and Warmington warned that if he was still sitting in the chair for the next fiscal year, no projects would be approved if the MPs did not have constituency consultations.