Arnaldo, the big spender ... MP says $3 billion spent under his watch
More than $5 billion has been spent in the constituency represented by junior foreign minister Arnaldo Brown, $3 billion of which the member of parliament says is as a result of his advocacy.
East Central St Catherine, based on a constituency report prepared by Brown, has benefited from the support of at least four projects from foreign governments or agencies. The projects, which include $29 million at the Gregory Park Primary and $22 million at the Naggo Head Basic School, amount to nearly $60 million.
"In the very short four years that I have been there, more than $3 billion has been spent in the constituency seeking to upgrade and address the various infrastructural challenges," Brown said as he addressed the State of the Constituency Debate in the House of Representatives.
East Central St Catherine is one of the three new constituencies established ahead of the 2011 general election and is considered a marginal seat.
"This is a member of parliament (MP) who has been working, working, working for the people of East Central St Catherine, that has a platform to stand on going forward and will remain the member of parliament in the next term," the first-time MP said after outlining the various interventions he has made in the constituency.
Brown won the seat in 2011 by 558 votes, beating the Jamaica Labour Party's Camile Buchanan.
spending for improvement
Brown said that $33.8 million was spent on sports development and $24 million on the Lime Tree Grove/Lakes Pen sports complex, money that was taken from the Sugar Transformation programme.
He said that the New Zealand Fund provided a grant of CAD$20,000 to establish the Hamilton Gardens cricket oval, which has received $7 million in investment.
Another $31 million was spent on housing, $29 million of which came from the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) for zinc fence removal.
Brown also reported significant spending in the area of education of more than $1 billion, $800 million of which has been spent at the Cedar Grove Academy, a secondary school he inherited.
"We were able, thorough donations from the people and the Government of Chile, to place laptops in the Independence City Primary School," Brown said.
He said, too, that $115 million has been spent on roads, one of which is the Lakes Pen service road, which has a price tag of $56 million.
Brown, however, said that "of all these interventions that have been made, I think the Cottage Drive Road is one of the most important because this road has been in a state of disrepair for more than a decade, and currently, this road has been repaired to the tune of $17 million".
The road is situated in Gregory Park, considered to be a swing division in the constituency.
Brown said, too, that $5.6 million has been spent in Lime Tree Grove, and "there is not one pothole in that community as a result of the work we have done".
Other major projects being undertaken in the constituency are the Soapberry sewer upgrade ($2.1 billion) and the Tullouch Spring upgrade ($1.8 billion).