Millions approved for CDF projects - Members seek clarification for disaster-mitigation denotation
Despite the ongoing quarrel between Parliament's Constituency Development Fund (CDF) committee and the Social Development Commission (SDC) over the cost for implementing projects and monies owed for non-implementation, the agency continues to get committee approval for CDF projects.
The SDC and the CDF are at odds over the fees charged by the agency for the implementation of projects.
SDC charges a five-per-cent fee for implementing projects. The committee is seeking to have the cost reduced, but SDC Executive Director Dwayne Vernon says the issue of cost reduction is one for the board.
Vernon has, however, suggested it is hopeless for members to seek a reduction in the fees.
The CDF has retorted with its own disapproval, stating that the agency owes more than $174 million in unimplemented projects.
But despite the impasse, Tuesday's meeting of the CDF saw the SDC approved as the implementing agency for more than 50 per cent of projects given the go-ahead by the committee.
Five-million dollar programmes from members of parliament (MP) Olivia Grange (St Catherine Central) and Luther Buchanan (Westmoreland Eastern), and a $4.5-million programme from MP Julian Robinson (St Andrew South Eastern) were the most expensive projects to be approved.
Other approved projects included funds for just over $750,000 by Manchester North Eastern MP Mikail Phillips for assistance in upgrading bathroom facilities at a school in his constituency.
Several MPs, including Phillips, Colin Fagan, Dayton Campbell, Evon Redman, Richard Azan and Floyd Green had multiple projects approved.
A project from St Andrew Eastern MP Fayval Williams, seeking funds for disaster mitigation was withdrawn, but later readmitted.
CDF head Moveta Munroe said there was need for more and better particulars for the location of disaster-mitigation projects for which funding was being sought.
As committee members deliberated, chairman Everald Warmington suggested that disaster-mitigation projects such as drain cleaning might be the responsibility of parish councils and not the CDF.
A majority of members, however, determined that what was requested by Munroe might be impractical as MPs could not tell beforehand where disaster would strike.
It was suggested that if a MP requested funds to clean drains that are likely to cause flooding in the event of heavy rains, it ought not be rejected by the committee.
MP Denise Daley's disapproval of the CDF head's request was obvious, as she suggested that the deliberations were unnecessary and the projects should be approved.
The committee agreed and the project was later readmitted and approved.
More than 20 projects were approved during Tuesday's meeting.