Bartlett responds to accusations of 'inequitable distribution' of Labour Day funds
Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett revealed yesterday that allocations outlined in a recent program released to the media do not tell the full story.
In a release Bartlett noted that of the 63 constituencies, each will have access of up to $4 million in support of development projects.
Funds already drawn down, per constituency, will be deducted from a cap of $4 million. This represents a critical part of the Spruce Up Jamaica Programme which will see to up to $250 million spent on constituencies islandwide.
I further says, Bartlett yesterday pointed to allocations made under the last PNP administrations which showed an incredible bias towards the PNP members just before the last election. He explained that several JLP MPs then had asked for additional resources for projects in their constituencies, but those requests went unanswered while PNP constituencies were quietly given additional funds.
It says in this most recent allocation of resources, many of the JLP MPs whose requests were not granted then have asked for additional support and it was decided to upfront a portion of their allocation to restore equity.
Bartlett said: "Previous year's allocations were not fully disbursed. In the current case, there were requests made by members of the current government that were not honoured by the previous administration and there was an imbalance of distribution where then government members got a disproportionate amount in their allocation at the time. The current allocations balance that situation and bring equity among all 63 constituencies".
He also added that the allocation for the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition are usually higher than others. "The Prime Minister's allocation also reflects a separate amount for a request which was made for more funds to complete the development of a section of Olympic Way into an entertainment a hip strip in his constituency".
Bartlett concluded that, “The funds in question are not specific only to Labour Day per se and will most likely be used to aid programs not completed on the day as well as other programs under the new Spruce Up Jamaica Programme".